FCC to address net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission asked in May for the public’s input on net neutrality, which is the idea that Internet accessibility should be equal for all users and websites. During the four-month comment period, which closed earlier this month, 3.7 million people offered their views. Nearly 99 percent of them favored net neutrality.

The FCC is expected to announce a new plan for regulating Internet use by the end of 2014. One of the FCC’s options is to let Internet service providers control some users’ Internet speeds depending on the users’ payment levels.

Broadband providers are lobbying to prevent any regulation in favor of net neutrality. The largest Internet companies, including Verizon and Time Warner, have already spent many millions of dollars to convince lawmakers not to pass any regulations detrimental to these companies’ interests.

Some critics of net neutrality note that achieving online equality is near impossible because Internet bandwidth is a finite resource that needs to be allocated among all users. They also say that providers currently try to protect consumers by blocking malicious data.

Despite the lobbying efforts and counterarguments of Internet service providers, the public’s opinion is very clearly in favor of net neutrality. We are in agreement with the public consensus supporting net neutrality over the profit-based motives of Internet service providers. Keeping Internet access equal for everyone should be a top priority for the FCC, and we hope to see the commission take a strong stance for net neutrality in its upcoming plans.