By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted a 3-2 repeal of Net Neutrality in December. Without Net Neutrality, internet service providers can control the content seen on websites and block out what they do not want people to see, as well slowing down the speed of their customer’s internet. If a user wanted to gain faster speed, they would have to pay for it.
Although there are still more steps the repeal has to go through before becoming official, there is worry for what the lack of an open internet could mean. For college students, this repeal could make getting assignments done a challenge in the future. Students who work for the I.T. department voiced their reservations about what it could mean for classes and using social media.
Bethany Haynes, a sophomore and IT student worker, expressed thoughts on what could happen if people were charged for using individual websites in addition to paying for internet access. “When I first found out about it, I was pretty angry,” said Haynes. “It would make doing schoolwork hard, as it could mean more expenses for students who already have to pay for their Internet service provider.”
Haynes added, “People who aren’t able to pay their Internet bill now because of the change, are going to have hard time accessing these websites… For school, that would be a bad thing, obviously, because we need access to these websites.”
Another IT student worker, freshman Zachary Petcher, believes it will be rough for students to do their coursework. “It’s just making it challenging, and we would have to pay more money for. It’s just not ideal.”
As university is already expensive for students, the additional cost of paying to use the Internet for school or for recreational usage might be hard for students to afford even though it is a basic need in modern life.
States across the country have been fighting against the repeal of Net Neutrality by trying to sue the FCC. Maine is one of the states that is going against the FCC to keep the usage of free Internet.
Both Petcher and Haynes believe that paying for using social media websites would make it tough on students. “It’s just more money that we’re going to be forced to spend to get these basic things that we have been reliant on, and are becoming more reliant on,” said Haynes.
The Internet is a tool many professors use in class, and students are often required to use it for homework assignments. If students had to pay to access class-related websites, assignments may be tough for students to complete.
Haynes admitted she was unaware of Net Neutrality until the issue arose back in December. “We just want Internet. We just want nice Internet,” said Haynes, who urged students to keep on voicing their rights on this issue. “Keep fighting for it. The last thing we want is to spend more money.”