The Downey Legend

The Future of Net Neutrality

Ajla Nasic, Social Media Manager

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Months after chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, decided to pass a regulation that would abolish net neutrality, the Senate voted on the issue on May 17 — ultimately taking a stand with the loud majority and favoring net neutrality. Congress passed the Congressional Review Act resolution on the issue.

 

The topic spurred interest with the general public when advocacy groups, social media companies, and regular internet users everywhere rallied in favor of net neutrality — a principle that wouldn’t allow internet providers to discriminate in terms of usage. Since an enormous portion of the world rely on the internet to provide them with information they desperately need, it is clear an issue involved with opposing net neutrality would result in immense opposition.

 

Even though many individuals support net neutrality, it was unsure if the act to rollback the FCC’s crude regulations would be successful in Congress. Democrats, currently a minority in both houses, are likely to support the topic. However, Republicans are likely to oppose it as Pai’s issue would give businesses — internet service providers — freedom in how they provide services, a traditionally conservative ideal. Therefore, the resolution required bipartisan support to pass in the Senate, and the support was granted with a heavy hand when three Republican senators chose to stand against the majority in their group and vote in favor of the resolution.

 

Despite the resolution passing in the Senate, its future is bleak once it enters the House. It would have to garner to support of all Democrats in the House, as well as 20 Republicans — an unlikely fate. Currently, the Trump administration and President Trump himself support Pai’s restriction on internet freedom. Thus, Republican representatives are unlikely to switch sides on the manner as it is politically polarizing.

 

Ultimately, the Congressional Review Act resolution passing in the Senate was not only a victory for net neutrality, but it was a victory for freedom. The regulation the FCC intended on passing was restricting and nearly authoritarian that would dissuade regular internet users from accessing heaps of information due to unsightly costs. In an age where we depend on social media and other sites to stay connected with others, it is simply unfair to allow internet providers to infringe upon users’ freedoms through potentially charging them high costs in exchange for a service everyone depends on.

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The Future of Net Neutrality