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Opinion Net neutrality: Internet is a necessity

Net neutrality: Internet is a necessity

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In the most recent debate over the Internet’s future, President Barack Obama said that a free and open Internet is just as critical to American’s lives as electricity and telephone service and should be regulated to protect us.

Although I completely agree with Obama’s stance on net neutrality, I can’t help but wonder if his current increased interest in the topic was a failed attempt to increase Democratic votes for the most recent congressional election and an attempt to win Democratic votes for the next presidential election.

Obama’s stance on net neutrality has been interpreted as him giving his political support to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who is close to settling a net neutrality plan. The debate among the FCC is on whether the Internet is a necessity or just more of an option such as cable.

The Internet may be a privilege, but it is a necessity to the American way of life. We need it for work, school and communication. It has made receiving an education, employment and entertainment exceedingly convenient.

Also, the Internet has unlocked more possibilities than previous generations could have ever imagined. If the Internet is optional, so are electricity, automobiles and other helpful everyday tools. Limiting those would be ridiculous.

The New York Times reported the proposal was hailed by Internet content companies Netflix, Democrats in Congress and consumer advocacy groups. Republicans and some investment groups are against the plan for net neutrality and said “the regulation is heavy-handed and would kill online investment innovation.”

Republicans believe that limiting the amount larger companies are allowed to charge for Internet usage would possibly hurt any new companies coming into the market and hurt any type of new innovations they could bring along.

While these net neutrality rules could bring limitations to some Internet service providers, I do not believe it is something that these companies would not be able to overcome. These limitations are completely necessary in order to allow for fair competition among smaller ISPs and companies that provide services over these networks.

Data is data no matter where it is coming from or who it has been created by. Data should be treated equally for the well-being of the Internet to continue and for equal availability of all the information that is shared globally.

This is an article of opinion written by Printz Writer Karyn Lewis, Karyn.Lewis@eagles.usm.edu.

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