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Net neutrality is an issue of equality

By Andrew Mitchell
On April 7, 2014

Phone and cable companies charge different rates for the same service but for different access. Net neutrality is said to enforce Internet providers to adhere to the same access for everyone. This sounds good, right? But it's not that simple.

The Federal Communication Commission wants to enforce net neutrality. Michael Abrams, a communication law professor in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication at Florida A&M, defines net neutrality as "the idea that everybody deserves equal access to the information on the Internet and everybody is treated the same."

The FCC accused Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T of slowing down Internet access.Comcast and Netflix recently struck a deal to respond to Netflix's concerns. It's good for Netflix's access problem, but customers could still see an increase on their Netflix bill.

The FCC has tried to preserve net neutrality on the Internet for years.Its case against Comcast was struck down by the Supreme Court. If the FCC would have won, it could enforce net neutrality against Comcast.

Net neutrality affects every web surfer, but many Americans are still unaware of the issues revolving around it. Abrams said net neutrality should be a concern for everyone.

Some FAMU computer information science students are in favor of net neutrality.

Jermaine Archer, a junior computer information science student from Hollywood, Fla., believes the Internet right now denies equal access.

"I feel like it isn't fair," Archer said. "If the Internet providers or government wants to slow your Internet, they can."

However, the FCC inherits power from the ruling. The ruling established the power of the commission over the Internet. Past court decisions didn't make it unclear. The FCC wants to rewrite regulations on Internet providers.

Net neutrality is needed in the information age, but can we really trust the FCC after the 1996 Communications Act? I'm concerned about how the FCC might regulate our Internet. However, the companies charging or limiting my access causes more alarms.

Abrams had an interesting point on why we should care about net neutrality.

"If you don't have an informed public, you have a public that's divided into sectors," Abrams said. "You can't have an Internet divided between the rich and poor."


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