By Stephen Kondor
Managing Editor of Content
The recent vote to repeal net neutrality was met with significant outcry by many in the country and in San Luis Obispo County.
The new regulations were released last month, by the Federal Communications Commision, that aims to dismantle regulations protecting equal access to the internet.
Net neutrality was voted to be repealed on Dec. 14 by the FCC.
“[The internet] should belong to the people,” said Morgan Jewitz, a 20-year-old Cal Poly student. “[The internet] is the pinnacle of Freedom of Speech.”
The proposal was announced by F.C.C. Chairman Ajit Pai and took aim at rules put in place by the Obama administration. These rules included the prevention of high speed internet service providers from slowing or halting certain website’s delivery.
Pai used to work for Verizon, where he used to serve as associate general counsel handling broadband disputes, his role in the repeal of net neutrality has caused a lot of backlash for the company.
Verizon was met with a country-wide protests of their stores in over 600 locations two days before the vote.
Jewitz and fellow Cal Poly student Timothy Willis-deTone held the Verizon protest in SLO.
The main fears that Willis-deTone and Jewitz share over the loss of net neutrality is the loss of freedom on the internet.
“I’m worried about [Internet Service Providers] having too much control,” Willis-deTone said.
A larger issue that is being raised by net neutrality supporters is the potential for sites to be blocked or service being slowed down on sites.
“My biggest concern is it will hinder small businesses and startups,” Jewitz said.
Net neutrality supporters have trouble trusting big ISPs to act in the users best interest when it comes to something as large as the internet.
“They have too much control and are already focused on profits,” Willis-deTone claimed.
“It is asking for trouble,” Jewitz added.
Cuestonian reporters were asked to leave when requesting to speak to the manager of the Verizon store for comment.
For Ethan Lacaro, a 19-year-old Cuesta student, a large concern with a change to the current system is how it might impact freedom of information.
“Not everyone has access to a library and the internet is what makes up for that,” Lacaro said.
The added expenses that would be accompanied by the removal of net neutrality will put a strain on those who struggle financially.
“[The internet] is access to information and opportunities and the wealthier you are the better opportunities you will have,” Lacaro said.
In interesting point of contention is how the already existing powers within the internet will react to a change in net neutrality, from giant streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu to search engines like Google and Yahoo.
“I could definitely see [subscription based internet streaming platforms] raising their prices,” Lacaro said.