OPINION: The fight for net neutrality starts with you

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The loss of net neutality could cause internet access and rates to increase in price. (Illustrative photo by Justin Wright | Collegian Media Group)

Jessica Rosenworcel, member of the Federal Communications Commission, went against her bosses’ wishes and asked the general public to “make a ruckus” over net neutrality on Nov. 22.

Now, like the polite college students we are, we should take the sage advice of our government officials. Friends, Wildcats, countrymen, lend me your ears: the future of the internet is in our hands.

On Dec. 14, the FCC wants to force a vote on a plan they have concocted to end net neutrality based on the belief that charging more for internet access will stimulate investment.

For those who don’t know, net neutrality is the principle that allows us to surf the web however we like without our broadband provider getting in the way of the content we want to access. I’d argue it’s a basic millennial right.

Picture a route exiting Bill Snyder Family Stadium on game day with one fast lane and one slow lane. The slow lane is open to everyone — it will eventually get you where you want to go, but it’s clogged with cars.

Next to the slow lane is a fast lane. Cars are cruising by at the speed limit with leisurely ease because they paid a sizable fee to access the fast lane. Oh, and the fast lane cuts off the slow lane at certain intersections because their money gets them places faster.

Does it still sound like every man is a wildcat?

If net neutrality is repealed, not only could service providers limit the speed of our internet, they could also have the power to censor and/or amplify the voices of whatever websites and businesses they want. Doesn’t the First Amendment ring a bell?

As college students, we are facing a big problem if the FCC has its way.

College courses are continuously moving toward curriculums with online elements. Soaring textbook prices are prompting some professors to publish select readings to K-State Online, available for students to either print or read online.

Can you imagine being cheated out of free access to course materials because you are being charged extra to use certain websites? It might be 2017, but the FCC is living in 1984.

Paying extra to read an online document that I will, in turn, have to pay ten cents per page to print is bad enough, but don’t even get me started on paying extra for memes. How can we settle on a pronunciation of “GIF” if the FCC slows down the websites we use to discuss these things?

While I personally think “GIF” has a hard “G,” we must put our arguments over elocution aside and tell the government exactly how we feel about the end of net neutrality.

Rosenworcel thinks the FCC needs to discover just how much they have angered the public. Then, hopefully, the repeal can be slowed down and eventually stopped.

For the sake of small businesses, Netflix, college education and memes, call the FCC. Tweet them. Email them.

The internet as we know it is a defining characteristic of our generation. Don’t let it be taken away.

Madison Obermeyer is a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to [email protected]

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