The end of Net Neutrality may be an issue for students

As a college student, it is hard to imagine that information could be prevented from reaching the masses due to the greed of major corporations.

Save the Internet is a website that informs the public about net neutrality. According to the website, on Dec. 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission’s Republican majority approved Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to gut the Net Neutrality protections.

The website also stated that Pai is a former Verizon lawyer and a Trump appointee, who ignored the widespread outcry against his plan from millions of people.

Some Americans subconsciously do not think about the internet as being a public domain that they use every day for whatever they desire. This accessible use of the Internet is due to net neutrality, which is a set of rules put in place to keep the Internet and its content free.

With net neutrality in place, the internet has been used as a platform for change, creativity and innovation. Citizens of the United States express their First Amendment right through this service. They also use this service when they openly share their feelings, and organize events that turn into historical movements, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

The internet also serves as a professional platform, especially for small businesses as a way to promote their product and gain customers.

It has paved a way for an influx of information to instantly reach people no matter where they are. Net neutrality has made it possible for popular platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to emerge and thrive.

Without net neutrality, major companies would be able to charge people for access to the internet and their use of it, and they could also eliminate possible competition based on how much money the company has.

Brenda Wright, the Associate Director of Libraries at Florida A&M University, believes that “it will have negative consequences, but it will never take away the freedom of information.”

Wright also said that this situation will be like Google, “many people thought that Google would put libraries out of business, but instead it actually became a partner that served as a resource for libraries.”

Kenya Fanini-Lemoine, a senior architecture student at FAMU, said that she believes net neutrality has done great things for society.

“Losing net neutrality would be a major setback in our growing society. It has pushed technology forward in more ways than one.”

Getting rid of net neutrality would affect all Americans that use the internet, but will especially affect students who rely heavily on the services of the internet. Blackboard, online libraries, websites, and many school related resources that use the Internet.

Fanini-Lemoine added that net neutrality aids in students’ knowledge of the world around them, brining awareness to world news.

“For a college student, it keeps us updated through worldwide news, whether its educational or not,” Fanini-Lemoine said. “It also allows us to access various websites for research in any classes that require the activity.”

So, what would happen if the internet is no longer free? Who would pay for it, the students or the school? What would we have access to? How would that affect our learning?

“Technology connects students to an untapped world of knowledge without the physical travel. Without Net neutrality tuition would increase by an allotted amount due to the annual fees for programs and websites that FAMU has contracts with,” Fanini-Lemoine said.

As of right now, the FCC ruling has made no immediate changes to the rules of net neutrality.