Most of us still don’t know about net neutrality

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How many of you actually know what net neutrality is? The answer is probably not enough. Some of you may even have an opinion for or against it not because you know what it is but simply because of partisan lines and that needs to change.

“There are still students that are not informed about net neutrality,” said Delta College Associate Professor Adriana Brogger, who works in the Radio-Television department. “When I asked one of my classes how many of you have had heard of net neutrality more than half of the room raised their hand. When I said ‘can someone actually tell me what it is in their own words’ a lot of those hands went down.”

On Nov. 30 Governor Jerry Brown restored net neutrality rules in California that were set during the Obama era, but were repealed under the Trump administration with his signing of bill SB-822. 

“Net neutrality is the principle that all content on the internet should be treated equally,” said Brogger when asked how she explained it to her class. “It is surprising to me that not as many college students who use the internet as much as they do are not aware of this.”

While it was not surprising to me to hear that many students were unaware of what net neutrality is about I think it is surprising that more than I even thought may not be aware of something that would affect so many students.

With SB-822 California is attempting to prohibit broadband and wireless companies from blocking, throttling, or otherwise hindering access to internet content and from favoring some websites over others by charging for faster speeds. The U.S. Justice Department announced they would sue California to try and block their regulations and state law.

California is one of many states to try and bring back some sort of net neutrality since the FCC voted last year to reverse the Obama-era internet regulations. “In today’s digital world, the internet is critical to free expression, free speech and democracy” said Los Angeles Senator Kevin de Leon in a PR message back in December and was one of many that worked on SB 822 to make sure it could withstand legal challenges. “Americans of every income level and political persuasion depend on a free and open internet.” 

While we do live in a world of opportunities and businesses should be able to make money the amount of money those businesses have spent to try and end net neutrality should make you worry and that something that has become so important not just here but all over the world could eventually become much more restricted and limited to those that can afford it. Part of what makes the internet so valuable is the amount of people that have access to it.

“Hard to say,” said Brogger when asked about how it would affect her classes if net neutrality came to an end. “We can speculate. I believe that an open internet and a neutral internet that is unbiased and is open to everyone is important. It was not that long ago that the U.N. stated that among the different things that are basic human rights included in that was the internet and access to it. How did we go from at that level? It is such a basic human right in the United States to it now being challenged. The internet as we have known it and experienced it might not always be around.”