Net neutrality: Why should you care?

Saadia Akhtar

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to repeal net neutrality rules that were implemented under the Obama administration.

According to Assistant Professor Bryce Newell from the College of Communications and Information, net neutrality is about “restricting the ability of internet service providers (ISPs) to discriminate between content online.” 

If these rules are abolished, an ISP like Comcast could slow down streaming services for shows on ABC, in favor of their affiliated company, NBC, for example.

Besides streaming services, this would have a large impact on education, for college students especially. Depending on the university’s deal with its service provider, certain research databases could load slower than others or not even be accessible under a certain ISP.

Newell said college students should care about net neutrality rollbacks, for two reasons.

“One, they will likely begin to see higher fees for using certain services (those who pay ISPs for higher bandwidth, and then pass these costs onto consumers),” Newell said. “And two, they may begin to see slower access to some online services, resources, and websites.”

Different online homework software companies could make deals with ISPs, which could in turn make deals with colleges, rendering professors with only a few online homework options to choose from. The result? Students end up paying more for their homework subscriptions because professors will not be able to choose among different products. 

Repealing of these rules will have an immense effect on the education system in the United States. Though we will not know exactly what the ISPs will do in practice until– if — net neutrality is repealed.  

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