The Obama-era regulations known as Net Neutrality (formally referred to as the “Open Internet Order”), were repealed in December 2017, according to NPR.org Neutrality is an idea that has many, especially college age students, buzzing.
Mignon L. Clyburn, FCC Commissioner, said Net Neutrality as “the ability of consumers and businesses to reach the online applications and services of their choosing without interference from their broadband provider.”
Imagine a road that does not allow cars that emit excessive pollution. That could be good for the environment, right? On the other hand, imagine a road that charges a fee to drivers of red cars because the owner of the road does not like the color red. Thus ensues the debate on Net Neutrality.
Shane Mouton, an Optix partner, said Comcast, for example, placed additional charges on customers who streamed Netflix.
In December 2017, these network regulations that protected customers from additional charges were repealed, allowing said providers to create their own rules.
Today, Net Neutrality is heavily debated.
With a 3-2 party-line vote, the Republican majority won and the Open Internet Order was repealed.
Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman heading the repeal, said, according to the Washington Post, “Entrepreneurs and innovators guided the Internet far better than the heavy hand of government ever could have.”
In an instant response to the repeal, all 49 Democratic senators signed a requested congressional review by Ed Markey (Sen-D). who tweeted his determination to re-instate Net Neutrality rules.
Optix will decide what this means for BYU-Idaho students.
Shane Moulton is a partner at Optix, which provides internet for BYU-I, said what he thinks the repeal means for students:
“Net Neutrality … had zero effect on how Optix ran our network here in Rexburg because at the end of the day our vision for Optix is to provide the best internet as possible for the students,” Moulton said. “No matter what happens, students at BYU-Idaho will see no change.”
Moulton’s advice for students is to “Get to work and go to school and not worry about it. It’s not worth worrying about. We need to be worrying about things that are more important.”
What’s next for net neutrality?
Earlier this week, Susan Collins, Republican Senator, announced her support of Net Neutrality, bringing the vote to reinstate net neutrality to an even 50-50, and many senators are calling for one more vote to protect it before forcing a vote in the next 60 days, according to the Huffington Post.
In an interview with PBS News:, Pai (who began the Net Neutrality repeal in 2017) said, “My concern is that, by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas, for example.”
“I think from my understanding, net neutrality seems like it is better for the consumer, the customer,” said Matthew Taylor, a freshman majoring in international studies. “Every single successful business says that the customer is always right. If net neutrality is looking out for the customer, it should be a thing. In the end, if it benefits the customer, it benefits the business.”