I am writing about the recent FCC vote to repeal the net neutrality regulations that have helped keep the internet open and available to all. While I may still be a minor (14 years old) and therefore can of course not vote yet, I have some things to say. Net neutrality has been a staple of the internet almost since its conception. Net neutrality is a bipartisan regulation that benefits the general populace, no matter their political affiliation. A main argument that FCC chairman Ajit Pai is using is that net neutrality prevents ISPs from innovating and competing. While this argument has some merit, loss of internet neutrality will have many more negative consequences for the consumer. What will probably happen with the ISPs is most likely a situation similar to what has occurred with the organization OPEC. They will agree to not move in on other companies’ service areas and instead uniformly increase the price of internet access. Even right now, ISPs are lobbying for several bills that will help set the foundation for internet access, treating it like a cable TV package: low data caps with extremely high overage fees, but with the ability to pay extra to access a website without using up data.
If these things were to happen, it will have drastic consequences for the general consumer nationwide, and through that, the economy. It will make internet unaffordable to poorer families, which will not only increase income equality, through these families having more difficulty finding and maintaining jobs, since much of that is done via the internet, but it will also make it much more difficult for poorer children to do schoolwork, as much of it is online these days. It will also have drastic consequences for poor college students who already have to balance massive bills. It will also make it much more difficult for smaller businesses to start and be successful because the internet is a vital tool to advertise and sell products and services. In the end, the only people it will benefit are the ISPs themselves, who have a history of hurting their customers for profit while getting away with it due to their monopoly. Due to the increase in need for the internet these days, it should be classified as a public utility; something that everyone should have access to while paying a fair price.
This is why, as a concerned citizen, I ask our delegation to sign and support the Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, and to fight for digital freedom together with the citizens of America.
student, Ben Franklin High School