The Debate Surrounding Net Neutrality

DUBUQUE – It’s an issue that affects nearly everyone.

“I’m very passionate about it because I believe we deserve freedom of internet,” Cody Belge, a computer science major, says on the debate over net neutrality.

On the other hand, Dalton Graham, Founder and CEO of Graham Daddy, thinks differently. “The internet is a service. If you would like faster internet, buy a faster internet. There is nothing that says everybody is entitled to internet.”

These are just two of the opinions surrounding the net neutrality debate. But what does it have to do with the price of the internet?

Think of it like this:  When you turn on your light switch at home, you are charged the same amount as your next door neighbor. As of right now, the internet works on the same principle.

“Wires come into your home, they bring the internet. Everyone pays the same, or roughly, but you don’t pay for each particular website,” Dr. Cochran, Professor of Politics, explains.

President Obama wants to keep the internet that way:  free, open, and fair for all.

“This set of principles, the idea of net neutrality, has unleashed the power of the internet and given the chance for innovators to thrive,” he stated in a video posted on the White House website.

However, net neutrality opponents, like House Speaker John Boehner, say adding such regulations would, “destroy innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“The company’s view is that we have laid all of this fiber optic cables, which is very expensive, and we should be able to make a profit, and part of that profit is to perhaps start charging certain websites or contact providers more to get it into homes,” Dr. Cochran explains.

Those extra charges could have the potential to affect customers like you. Dr. Cochran says, “you might see less variety when it comes to websites you want to see. Or, certain websites like Netflix or YouTube might become more expensive if they have to now pay extra to media companies to get their website to viewers.”

The FCC is currently hearing comments from the public on this issue and has postponed any decision making until sometime in 2015.

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