Preserve an open Internet

After President Barack Obama’s speech regarding net neutrality on Monday, debate has resurfaced about the importance of an open Internet and what should be done about it. The idea of net neutrality is that service providers, through the principle of non-discrimination, should treat all of the content generated on the Internet equally.

Obama’s speech echoed many of the same reasons proponents of net neutrality have been arguing for, stating that “an open Internet is essential to the American economy and increasingly to our very way of life.” 

One major consumer issue is the impact that getting rid of net neutrality would have on streaming services. A company like Google could in effect pay Internet service providers to separate Internet traffic into two different lanes: slow and fast ones.

Established companies would get faster service for a large fee, while potential competitors without sufficient capital would get stuck in the slow lane. This could eventually result in more expensive services for consumers and less market competition, as start-ups wouldn’t have the bandwidth to compete.

For students who rely on free, open Internet for everything from Moodle to researching for exams, this issue should be of the utmost importance. We urge students and faculty to support net neutrality and an open Internet. We may have grown up with the luxury of an open and free Internet, but that doesn’t mean it will be there forever unless we preserve it.