Meanwhile, in America: Net Neutrality Rollback
To Wu-Tang, I have no choice but to wholeheartedly agree, cash rules everything around me. No, this isn’t about the GOP’s tax plan — there will be another writing on this topic to follow. This is about the possibility for a net neutrality repeal as announced by Federal Communications Commission’s Chairman Ajit Pai, who once served as Associate General Counsel at Verizon for a short stint earlier in his career.
With the world becoming more digitized as information is beginning to more rapidly make its transition from physical copies, because of a number of reasons — saving trees, space, etc., to soft copies, the internet is essentially becoming one of our most vital resources. As of now, access to the internet, and all of its information, is available to all of those that can afford it — unfortunately, it remains elusive to those in poverty-stricken areas, the same areas that are typically on the lower side of the education scale — with little restriction. We can thank net neutrality for this equal access across the web.
What could potentially happen if net neutrality is repealed? Internet service providers could either block access to certain sites and content, or charge more for access to certain sites and content. This might not seem like a big issue to those that can afford a possible change, but what about those that either can’t afford internet now, or are barely able to afford access?
Again, the internet plays an important role in today’s world. That’s why you hear stories of companies like Facebook attempting to provide access to many all over the world. The issue with rolling back net neutrality is that it could potentially take us a step back in the wrong direction, especially with companies like Verizon, which have mentioned charging more for access before.
This rollback will play an enormous role in furthering the education gap between the haves and have nots. In a country where the have nots already lack proper funding for education, they typically lack textbooks, buildings that don’t fall apart, the same amount of enthusiastic educators — compared to their counterparts, attention from government officials, and laptops/tablets — a move that more of the haves are beginning to make.
Let’s say that they were able to get tablets. This would possibly free up more money down the line as there will not be a necessary need for hard copy books if these schools decide to go the digital route. Great, but what happens when some of these kids have to go home, and, in order to continue their studies, they need internet access? You guessed it! They will be out of luck. With net neutrality giving internet service providers the possibility of charging more for certain sites, some of these kids won’t be afforded the same educational opportunities as their counterparts as they will not have the same resources. We already have an overwhelming amount of evidence on what the lack of equal educational resources does. This is a potential issue that can arise from a rollback of net neutrality.
It should be mentioned that some on the side of ending net neutrality, like AT&T — yes, the same AT&T that once blocked FaceTime, have said that this won’t change internet access or services as we know it. Plus, it has been said that this move would only lighten the involvement and regulations imposed by the government; however, internet service providers will be forced to maintain a certain level of transparency with their practices. Whatever that means.
The vote on what to do with net neutrality takes place on December 14th. Should we fight to keep net neutrality, or are we making a big deal out of nothing? Could a move like this force some of the new age companies like Google, Facebook, and whatever company Elon Musk — the reincarnation of Nikola Tesla — would create (just an assumption for fun) to partner up in order to provide an alternative? What do you think?
Find out next time on: Meanwhile, in America!!! Not really though.
More from Kevin L. Cole, Jr. at: https://medium.com/@kevlcole