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Jeremy Rogers
Mr. Neumeyer
United States History, hour 6
1 May 2015
The Noteworthy Nationwide Necessity of Net Neutrality
One of the many modern controversies is Net Neutrality. It is a major issue that will
affect everyone, yet many are not sure what it is. In a nut shell, net neutrality means keeping the
internet a free and open medium for people to connect and share, whether it be to invite people to
your birthday party or to run an international enterprise. It is keeping any and all content as
accessible as the next. It means that you will be able to access website X as fast as website Y.
With net neutrality all content is created and treated equally. As simple as these rights sound,
they are very important to the way our society works today, and believe it or not, there are people
who want to strip these rights away. Net neutrality is to uphold our rights, save our money, and to
keep us productive (or unproductive).
Having a free and open internet is part of our rights at this point. The internet is so
ingrained into modern society that most do not see exactly how important it really is to keep
open. If net neutrality is taken away, it gives internet service providers, or ISPs, way too much
power. New technologies now allow telecom companies to scrutinize every piece of
information we send or receive online websites, email, videos, Internet phone calls, or data
generated by games or social networks, (ACLU). Without this openness ISPs can censor you.
Anything you say can be blocked or manipulated. Meaning if someone posts a hate comment

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about Comcast, it gives them the power to make it disappear, or edit it to a positive comment
about Comcast. This is a direct attack on the first amendment, freedom of speech. The internet is
used as a platform for millions of different things. If someone has a bias against it, then anyone
paying that provider for service will never see that content.
Secondly about rights is the ISPs can monitor you in the absence of net neutrality. While
there is no direct reference to privacy of individuals in the Bill of Rights, there are privacy laws
related to the internet. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1968 was mainly
designed to stop the government from accessing private electronic communications. The internet
falls under this category. If the government cannot legally view your electronic conversations
and exchanges with others, why should we let ISPs?
American Citizens rights are not the only thing being affected. The economy will most
likely take a dive. Net neutrality allows every website to be just as accessible as then next.
Without it, the ISPs can control speed of individual websites selectively. This will disrupt the
free enterprise my letting ISPs to favor another, or themselves, to a specific company. If a
provider wants to create a clone of a service and completely block out a widely used one, it can.
For example, say Comcast sees YouTube making a lot of money and they want in on it. Comcast
has a few, completely legal ways of going about this. One way is that it can create a new website
with basically all of the same features but not the same content block YouTube from being
used through their service and reap the benefits. Another similar way is by doing the same thing,
only just slowing YouTubes speeds through their services. A third way of doing this is by
slowing YouTube until they are forced to pay more for a decent speed. Keep in mind that all
three of these things, while immoral, would be completely legal. As mentioned before, they can
also favor one service over another. An instance of this would be Amazon and eBay. If a service

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provider so chooses, it can slow down or block eBay to promote Amazon. This will turn a
competitive economy into one based on whoever has more money from the start.
If the economy is controlled solely by whoever has the most money rather than how
many customers it can attract then one could no longer call it an economy. Immediately the
United States would flood with monopolies. Monopolies on most everything means higher prices
on most everything. To explain the negative effects of monopolies in full would require a whole
other document.
Another way a most-money-wins-out economy will affect the United States is the
disappearance of small businesses. Small businesses that use the internet as their platform will
very quickly diminish, and will soon become impossible to start. Apart from local attention, they
will be essentially invisible. If net equality is not present, small businesses will also need to pay
the ISPs to match speeds of another, much larger site. This means if, for example, Guitar Center
pays AT&T ten thousand dollars a month (this is a fabricated number) for a decent connectivity
speed, a locally owned store such as Guzzardo Performance Music would have to match Guitar
Centers speed. This is just another example of wiping small businesses off of the map. Small
business should not have their fate decided by whether they have money to kick start or not.
An additional major concern, as one could very easily guess, is money. Implementation
of this would cost the government (and, in turn, tax citizens) thousands, maybe even millions to
take on. This would require a rework in all of the software currently being used by ISPs to route
websites to you in the first place. An additional couple hundred lines of code would need to be
written for each and every website that exists, and there are currently somewhere around 644
million total surface websites. This number does not account for websites that are part of the so-

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called deep web. This code will require network specialists who are few and far between. This
kind of work requires a specialist and is not going to be completed cheaply.
Not only would cost the government and impose taxes for it, it would directly cost more
money for the citizens. Instead of being billed based on how much bandwidth one uses total, it is
based upon how much bandwidth you use from website to website. While this point may seem
redundant, remember that companies will be slowing selective websites based on how much the
companies pay. Also ISPs can throttle your speeds, causing you to use much more bandwidth,
but this will be mentioned later. This means that you never know how much will be added to
your bill when surfing the web. Potentially this could lead to huge bills and one may not even
know why.
Those who shop online would be impacted as well. Federal taxation would be applied to
any and all online products being sold in United States Dollars. The marketing of user-sold items
will have to be taxed as well. This would raise the price of user-sold items as they want a bigger
cut of the money that they would normally be paid in full.
Company websites, as mentioned before, are in great danger of failing due to the costs of
literally keeping up to speed. This will lead to a variety of emerging services needing to kick
start or start with very high prices for their trade. This, in turn, will cost more for the citizen.
One direct effect on the internet itself is speed. Yes, it has been mentioned, but not in
depth. With speed varying greatly from website to website, it may lower productivity in America.
Mass productivity will result in another hit to the United States economy. Things will get done
slower, and U.S. debts will increase faster. Also, the afore mentioned term throttling is when
an ISP deliberately slows your overall internet speeds in order to get more money out of their

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customers. With net neutrality, this is illegal. Even though it is very difficult to prove, it can get
ISPs fined. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other ISPs have been accused of throttling a lot over
the past decades and have still not been proven, thus goes unpunished. Without net neutrality, it
is open and legal to do, and will get ISPs in no trouble at all, except maybe their customer
support team.
Now one can see why net neutrality is such a big issue among computer oriented
companies and individuals. One might also wonder why this is even a problem in the first place.
In 2007, Comcast blocked a website called Bittorrent, where one can illegally download
copyrighted content for free. This was the first well-known instance of an ISP blocking a website
from their users. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped in and forced
Comcast to appeal this block. This got a few people thinking that maybe regulating the internet
was not a bad idea. Later, in December 2010, the FCC issues the Open Internet Order, which
basically are rules ruling out rules. This makes Verizon, an ISP, unhappy. They try to appeal this
in 2011 and it fails. In the following years are various ISPs attempting to block services, which
are ordinarily free, unless they are paid for in a plan, until the FCC tells them no. In 2014 the
D.C. Circuit tells the FCC that it is okay that they want an open internet, but they cannot impose
rules saying so. This is essentially saying that they want the FCC to let ISPs do whatever they
want. Here it sits today, with the internet under the rule of Title II, a document that states that
there are no regulations on the internet and that ISPs should do nothing but provide internet at
the speed at which it is paid for.
Altogether, net neutrality being in place is great not only for our country, its economy and
its politics, but for the citizens. The citizens, who entertain, manage, recruit, create, endorse,
communicate, consume, fund, donate, or otherwise contribute in any way, shape or form, even if

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they just lurk. The internet is a place where artists thrive, explorers share, the voiceless get their
voice. The positives of net neutrality greatly outweigh the negatives, if there are any. Each tiny
piece of our internet makes a whole, and the whole is a big part of modern culture and society. To
prohibit an open internet is to prohibit the growth of a community.

To take away our expression is to impoverish our existence Roughton Rou Reynolds

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Works Cited
Sommer, Jeff. "What the Net Neutrality Rules Say." The New York Times. The New York Times,
11 Mar. 2015. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.
"What Is Net Neutrality?" American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union, n.d.
Web. 29 Apr. 2015.