Net Neutrality – Story

Adrienne Bruner

Features Editor


Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai proposed that the commission roll back on Obama’s Net neutrality regulation, which intended to give internet users equal access to any website, network or application without interference from internet service providers. The commission voted on Thursday, Dec. 14 in favor of the repeal.
According to save the, net neutrality is the basic principle that prohibits internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content, applications or websites internet users wish to access.
Although many have rallied support against repealing the regulation, there are those who believe that Pai is making a good decision.
A Breitbart article titled “7 Reasons Net Neutrality is a Dumb Idea” published in Nov. 2014 explains that as a result of competition between internet service providers in the marketplace, [internet service providers] generally do not discriminate against highly-trafficked websites. The competition between providers forces them to adapt to the wants and needs of customers, or else no one will buy their service. The article goes on to state that leaving it up to the government when a provider is in compliance with regulations is a recipe for regulatory disaster.
Many believe that Net Neutrality is a way of maintaining consumer control of Internet while others believe that the competition itself will maintain a way for users to access whatever they could want or need. Regardless, this could mean numerous things for the MPS One-to-One program.
“In a nightmare scenario, this could mean that one-to-one devices won’t connect to the internet if you use specific [internet service providers],” tech coordinator Jay Hutfles said. “Right now, when students take their laptops to Starbucks or Hy-Vee or any place with free Wi-Fi, we secure your network traffic with a VPN connection back to Millard. This protects student data, which we are required to do, but also provides the benefit of giving students all access to printer and network drives.”
One-to-one devices have become an important teaching tool in classrooms across Millard. Teachers have been using them not only for projects, but recording lessons, in-class reading, digital art and design, Computer aided drafting, Google Classroom, and so much more.      

According to Hutfles, there are things being done with one-to-one devices that he never could have guessed, and of all of it has happened in less than a year. If the FCC were to repeal the net neutrality regulations, One-to-one may have to adjust.
“Honestly, I have taught without computers before. It is very different, but it is effective,” said Spanish instructor Juventina Sloter. Sloter uses laptops in her classroom every day, although she is capable of adjusting if the FCC’s decision passes.  
Although teachers may adapt, this may pose a larger challenge for students, who would not be able to access networks away from school.
“It’s going to severely limit our education and access to information. Without open internet we don’t have the power to choose what we want/can see anymore. It’s harmful for all communities and discourages people to speak up for what they believe in,” Senior Nicole Cloyd said. According to Cloyd, members of marginalized communities such as LGBTQ, religious and racial minorities cannot fight for equality on a platforms that censor them.
MPS has not come out with any information regarding what would happen in the event that Pai’s decision passes, and the district will cross that bridge when, and if, they get there. Of course, this isn’t the first time the FCC has attempted to create Net Neutrality regulations; two earlier attempts were rejected.  
“Net Neutrality is hard to explain.  And it’s hard to convince someone to care if they don’t know how it will impact them.  Most consumers are not going to know what Net Neutrality is until it’s gone,” Hutfles said.