Students react to residence of net neutrality

August PelliccioNews Reporter

Southern students who live and operate mostly on campus may be protected from the recent rollback of net neutrality rules; the service to students elsewhere may be compromised.

Southern chemistry major Douglas Ceci said he feels strongly about the recent change in national policy. He said net neutrality the way it existed before was put in place for a reason.

“I think some of it is really critical to a free society,” said Ceci.

Freedom of information has become a particularly hot topic since the revolution of internet, and now that the profiteers can regulate the level of service more, Ceci said he feels untrusting.

“As somebody who spent a decent amount of time in Maryland dealing with Comcast,” said Ceci, “I already have a particular dislike for most service providers.”

He continued to say the fact that internet speeds will easily manipulated by any of the larger service providers is wrong.

Ceci commented when asked if he feared a decrease in reliability for Southern’s internet network, “It’s sort of an eventuality in a world where you can put a price on your availability of the internet.”

The good news, according to Omar Abid, a member of Southern’s computer science staff, is that the university’s network access should not be affected by the change in net neutrality regulations.

Abid said, “I believe the university is a member of the Connecticut Education Network, which would unlikely throttle speeds for any reason.”

His expert opinion is that CEN would not take advantage of its clientele the same way a commercial internet service provider like Comcast, Frontier, Cox or Verizon FIOS would.

Student Mohamed Khatib said his concern is how the change will affect commuter students who are in “the slow lane.” He said it would affect ease of access and communication with other students.

“Everybody uses some sort of social media platform to connect with someone else,” said Khatib.

This aspect of the issue is in fact the way that Abid said the recent change in net neutrality would affect students – off campus. Internet service providers can now, according to Abid, choose to throttle everyone’s connection to select sources, but advertise and charge for the rate that the remainder flows at. He said this would allow those providers to keep making money without having to update their infrastructure as frequently.

Abid gave an example of how ISP’s can manipulate their customers with this change: “If I am your service provider, I could basically force you to use my service like Xfinity Streampix by making Netflix so slow that it’s unusable.”

One thing students might be relieved to hear – Abid said Connecticut has finally joined the multi-state plea to overturn the recent FCC rollback on net neutrality regulations. In other words, the state government is openly rejecting the federal decision to begin eliminating the protection offered by net neutrality.

Between this new development, and the safety shield of the Connecticut Education Network, Abid said his overall opinion on the new repeal of net neutrality is as follows: “The rollback of the rules could affect students, but it will likely not affect the university.”

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio



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