FCC to neutralize the net

Reginald Webb, Times Staff

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The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal existing laws governing net neutrality. Net neutrality referred to regulation in which the internet is defined as a public utility. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led the push to undo rules passed by the agency less than three years ago aimed at ensuring that all internet traffic be treated equally.

Net neutrality regulations limited the ability of an internet provider to block or slow traffic and prevent favoring its own content through so-called fast lanes.

Thus, internet service providers or ISPs had to maintain a neutral service where service is equitable. Regardless of content, net neutrality guaranteed a non-discriminate experience for the consumer on the internet. There could be no criteria that determines the quality or speed a website operates within a consumer’s internet service provider.

Eldred Cohen, San Jose City College student and UCSC graduate, said the FCC vote is a big concern of his.

“As a YouTube content creator,” Cohen said, “my right to do that could be in jeopardy.” He fears corporations will have unfair influence over content and it’s accessibility on the internet.

“If you start controlling what people see, you’ll be able to control what they think,” David Draminski, “a broadcasting or psychology major” at SJCC, said. Draminski is a disc-jockey on KJCC radio under the name Big Drama. Net neutrality had been a recent topic on one of his shows.

He used Verizon as an example of what he fears easing this regulation will promote. Draminski said Google Play was blocked and unavailable to android users by Verizon.

As of now the FCC repeal is going forward. The issue may ultimately end up being decided in court. Congress can also choose to pursue a legislative solution with a vote on the language.