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Our View: Breaking the cycle with net neutrality

Published: Monday, February 24, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 24, 2014 17:02

The Internet has always been a resource for anyone to use. It makes finding information much faster and connecting with people from all over the world easier than ever.

Normally the Internet is thought of a free-range domain in which one can search for and connect to anything.

However, the Internet as students have come to know it may be under fire.

Recently the Federal Communications Coalition, or FCC, struck down a controversial case that would regulate corporations from controlling the access speed of certain websites.

This now means that if an Internet provider wants to promote a website, they can slow down the Internet speed for its competition.

The FCC announced a new plan to ensure neutrality but little information on the new rules has sent the future of the Internet up in the air.

What was once a historic innovation may soon change into a corporate-controlled wasteland with regular consumers feeling the drastic effects.

History has seen the same patterns of money potentially corrupting innovation.

For example, access to television was a free resource during its first years. As time went on businesses realized television was a valuable service to promote their products.

Today, many people pay upwards of $100 a month for a multitude of channels. Most only watch a few channels, but still pay for an entire package. Corporations also works with service providers to make certain packages more expensive.

Overtime, this has limited access to information to only those who can afford to pay for it. And all the while, we have stood back and let this happen.

Many people are moving away from cable and satellite television in favor of online streaming services. But the Internet could soon see the same pattern, as corporations see the potential for profit making.

So far, companies such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable have already spent billions building their infrastructure, according to the New York Times.

Internet providers that pay more to corporations for their services will translate to a higher cost to consumers. However, there is a bigger issue than just profits for companies and costs for consumers: information.

As it stands now, anyone on any connected electronic device has unlimited access to any website domain, each one filled with different viewpoints, research and learning tools.

This is the Internet we have come to know, and with good reason.

Free-range public access to information has not only been praised as an ideal concept but also proven to raise intelligence of the population and, most importantly, better ensure equality.

We must not stand idly by while our current forms of communication and access are under fire. It is time to promote the free access to information before that information is regulated or completely taken away.

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of ASU.

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