GC speaks out on FCC proposal to reverse net neutrality

by Megan Schoonover/Staff Writer

    How often do you use the internet? In today’s day and age you most likely do very often. Net neutrality allows us to have freedom on the internet and do the things we do every day. Net neutrality, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is defined as,”The idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination.”

    The net neutrality we know has been around since 2015. It allows us to go to whatever site we want (and not have to pay a fine to go on it) and every site uses the same internet speed. So what happens when we don’t have these freedoms?

    On this upcoming Dec. 14 the FCC will vote on the plan (created by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai) that is trying reverse net neutrality. If they do, our internet will be very limited. Companies will control our internet so it will no longer be an open place. Certain sites will be blocked, get no traffic because companies will decrease their bandwidth, or have to pay a toll to just have a normal running site. Besides the site owners having to pay we will also have to pay to just use our everyday site. These companies will also have control over our internet speeds.

    Greg Thompson, technology operations director at GC, explained, “I liken the current (FCC) proposal to the following: Imagine if you bought a new Samsung Refrigerator for your kitchen replacing your old Kenmore fridge. Your Power Company has a special contract in place with Kenmore to provide 100% of the power needed by that Kenmore Fridge, but Samsung has decided not to pay your Power Company extra money to guarantee that its fridges also get 100% of the power they need. So your power company only sends 50% of the power needed by your new Fridge unless you agree to pay them extra to get the 100% needed. Sounds far fetched? That’s because: 1. The power company can’t actually do this legally since they are classified as a Title II Common Carrier.2. The technology to limit Power Delivery doesn’t exist (I believe it would if they could).”

    Thompson said, “In the end getting worse service for more $$ is never a good thing, and could have a negative effect on the people of Greenfield, and unfortunately I think the FCC will pass this new proposal.”

Savannah Watts, 12, commented, “I think that we should have the ability to surf the internet freely, without any one person or company telling consumers what to look at or what to search.”

     When asked how he felt about the proposal, Mr. Dan Naegeli responded, “ I feel that the internet has become a necessity in the daily life in the average American citizen.  I feel that it should be regulated like a utility.”

    Mr. Jonathan Hudson, Radio/TV department, commented on the plan, “Imagine if you are AT&T or Comcast, and providing internet to a household. It would be in your best interest to slow down content streaming websites like Netflix, Hulu, and others as to push your own streaming services and slowly take revenue away from the aforementioned companies. This is the problem without Net Neutrality, the ISP’s will always look out for themselves and their parent companies, and other third party companies with no major affiliation with always be confined to limited traffic on less bandwidth.”

    Elaine Hilton, 11, tech cadet who is also in AP Computer Science, responded to the possibility of reversal of net neutrality. “I am very concerned about the proposal because it will change life as we know it today. Our access to the internet will be limited by companies that are trying to make money. We will have to pay for access to our favorite sites just like we pay for tv channels now. I am definitely against the proposal the FCC is trying to pass because it will turn the internet into an industry rather than a resource for everyone.”

   Hilton also brought up another good point. “This will definitely impact the people of Greenfield-Central because it will become too expensive to purchase internet access for 1,500+ students. This will also limit what resources students will be able to access, which will limit educational opportunities.”

    When asked about how reversing net neutrality will affect the students, Aarika Foster, 10, said, “I think the students would be enraged. Most of the students are aware or at least have heard of it. Since we are all becoming young adults it affects us a lot. We have to know about these things but I do think they will pass this proposal.”

    Eric Mitchell, 11, said, “If this proposal is passed the good side of it is that people will be forced to go outside more often because they won’t be able to use their internet as much.”

    If this plan goes through we may have a very big change ahead of us. This change would apply to anyone who uses the internet.

    Ethan Baker, 11, said, “I think they will pass the proposal. The (FCC chairman) who proposed it, Ajit Pai, seems to be pretty set on this. He has also made statements that no matter how much we protest it is likely that it is still going through.”     

    Baker also said, “I think that if this goes through we will see less MacBook use because the internet will be a lot more expensive. I’m sure it’ll affect the youth in general too because we use the internet for just about everything.”

    Noah Engle, 11, said in response to the FCC’s proposal, “I don’t like the FCC’s proposal whatsoever. I am very against getting rid of net neutrality, mainly because I really don’t want to pay even more money for internet and it’s just ridiculous in general. Without net neutrality, companies would be able to control what we can see on the internet. More than likely censoring some people from voicing their opinions or posting news articles that are pro-net neutrality and infringing on their rights of free speech.”

   Hilton said, “I think it is likely that they will pass the proposal because members of Congress often hold large stocks in internet companies, so they stand to make a lot of money if this is passed. For this reason, they will work much harder to get it passed in order to receive their own financial gains.”

   However Hudson believed, “I strongly believe taking down Net Neutrality is an attempt to for the FCC to try to regulate the internet,  in which they previously have been unsuccessful. I ultimately believe that Net Neutrality will stand despite the greed and conflict of interests that lie within major ISP’s.”

   It seems to be a coin toss, but actions are being taken.

   New York Times writer Cecilia Kang, in “Net Neutrality Hits a Nerve, Eliciting Intense Reactions” wrote, “Public interest groups like Free Press and organizations like Mozilla, the nonprofit behind the popular Firefox browser, said they were prepared to file suit against the plan as soon as the vote on Dec. 14.” and “… start-ups such as Airbnb, Twitter and Reddit, which joined dozens of smaller start-ups on Monday warned that the rules would hurt innovation and the economy.”

    Engle said, “The FCC will more than likely pass the proposal, but Congress recently has set out a bill to stop the FCC from taking away our internet,  (House of Representatives Bill 4585.)”

    The bill is being sponsored by Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat from New York. The bill may not be able to have an impact because of such a quick turnaround time, but it is promoting more discussion of the topic of net neutrality.

(Link to bill) https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4585