PRO: Should the Net be Neutral?

Ellie Poling, Editor in Chief

The world wide web is an ever-expanding platform for information and ideas. Net Neutrality is the principle that all data on the internet should be treated equally. The Federal Communications Commission defines open internet as “using free, publicly available standards that anyone can access and build to, and treating all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way.” Simply, it is the internet we know today, and it should not be fussed with. The internet is a modern day encyclopedia that has expanded on concepts in great detail, more than could ever be put in print. Because of it, research has become easier and more accessible to everyone. However, with a platform so open, the line between fact and fiction can appear thin at times. Mostly, this has to do with presentation of information.

The different platforms for information on the internet are limitless: articles, videos, photos, and audio recordings are just the start. However, these platforms have only made education and internet safety stronger. Students learn at an early age that not all information on the internet is true or law-abiding. Sites that become popular through social media bursts often have to be taken with a grain of salt. Because of this, students have to be more selective in their search for specific data. Awareness of the billions of perspectives represented on the internet also spreads an awareness taken out of the context of the internet. Limiting this data in any way would disrupt freedom of speech. An open internet is vital to keep future generations engaged in new ideas and innovations.

While the actual process of regulating data on the internet is complex, the effects of regulation are simple and detrimental. New industries are created online daily and regulation would slow down investments in these industries drastically by limiting user access to information. Secondly, fees will almost always trickle down to the consumer for faster, smoother service, but limited content. This is a price no one wants to pay. The most common suggestion for regulation is having the FCC reclassify the internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information service. Imposing these rules would not be beneficial to keeping an open internet, because of the ever advancing technology and systems involved. Unlike antiquated telephone networks, regulations won’t be able to keep up with an expanding web.