Why Net Neutrality Affects Us All

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The internet as we know it may not be the same in the next couple weeks if we kiss net neutrality goodbye.

Professor and Chairperson for the Department of Media and Information Johannes Bauer explained what net neutrality exactly is.

“Net neutrality is a set of policies that constraints Internet access providers from discriminating against certain types of content and certain types of devices or certain types of content providers,” Bauer said.

Without this principle behind net neutrality, our freedom on the World Wide Web will be reduced immensely.

Bauer does research with the Quello Center at Michigan State and studies the implications behind why proposals such as this are placed in the first place.

“The good reasons are that the current set of rules is probably very, very rigid and constraining; and from an innovation and economic perspective, it’ll be desirable to relieve some of those rules.”

Although these reasons may be beneficial to some, Bauer said there’s also a downside to Net Neutrality being repealed.

“They also want to throw out those rules against non-discrimination and unfortunately the way the current Communication law is structured, it is difficult to do one without the other,” Bauer said.

The possibility of Net Neutrality being repealed will inevitably give Internet Service Providers the ultimate power amongst everyone else.

Chief Operating Officer at Spartan Net in East Lansing Richard Laing says this proposal can be a toss up for ISPs’ between both gaining and losing consumers.

“If you were to remove Net Neutrality and give these ISPs’ the ability to prefer their product over others, then maybe they’re taking back those subscribers that they initially had lost,” Laing said.

According to a Worth Hiding article, 60% of Americans are in support Net Neutrality, while only 17% oppose it. The other 23% still have yet to make up their minds.”

Laing said people in favor of keeping Net Neutrality want to have the freedom they’ve always had in terms of accessing the Internet.

“They want to have choice, they want to be able to select whatever means that they want to receive their content,” Laing said.

The vote on whether to repeal Net Neutrality or not will take place on December 14.

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