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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Allison is a senior at Loras College and is a Dubuque native. She's the Producer of LCTV News, along with Payton Van Vors, as well as an anchor and reporter. This past summer, Allison had an internship with KCRG in Dubuque, and she's continuing to work for them this Fall. Allison reports because she loves keeping her community informed on issues and events that matter to them.

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