Editorial: Why it’s imperative college students should be fired up about net neutrality

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The term net neutrality is one that’s been popping up all over our news feeds. Perhaps some of us retweet in support of or against net neutrality without even knowing what it is.

However, it’s time to understand what it is – and why it’s imperative to rally for it, especially as college students.

Net neutrality is defined as, “the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.”

The FCC is voting to revoke it.

Without these principles, our internet service providers could intentionally block certain websites. They could charge us to log on to others, and even intentionally slow some parts of our internet down.

Studies have shown that a free, open internet has increased otherwise marginalized communities access to internet websites. So a girl growing up in a poor, urban community has the same, fair access to internet as an upper-class man in a ritzy town.  This kind of online learning and education has helped the disenfranchised and allowed these undereducated communities to catch up. Is it fair to suddenly force both the poor and rich to pay more, when it’s very likely the poor can hardly afford it in the first place?

Lots of college students complain about our lacking funds. College is expensive. Is it fair, if we use, let’s say, Comcast for our internet, that Comcast might force us to pay extra for some web pages or even block certain sites? It’s already hard to afford that extra textbook or meal.

When the internet was originally designed, the idea behind it was another way for the masses to access information in a new way. That new way, at first, scared people. However, today, we are reliant on the internet. If our internet provider starts blocking a crucial site for our research, for example, that’s a problem. That dabbles in depriving us of our education.

So what can we do? Call your state legislators and the FCC, the organization in charge of net neutrality. Encourage Rowan administrators to take a stand firmly in support of net neutrality.

It’s time to stand up and fight to protect the rights of us students to learn and grow using all the resources the internet has to offer us.

Without extra cost.

For questions/comments about this editorial, email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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