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The Internet is on the verge of changing, and people around the country - including Portlanders - are not happy about it. It's what our children know, our students, our friends-it's how we have relished in the unlimited potential of the world wide web.

Without net neutrality, do you trust your phone or cable company to behave themselves, or do you expect your bills to go up? It allows us all access to open networks and online communication. The Federal Communications Commission is considering ending net neutrality, giving internet providers the ability to charge different prices for different types of traffic.

It is ironic that advocates for the repeal of net neutrality claim that it amounts to government regulation of the internet. It only further propels the rich, while those on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder suffer.

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Some people worry that without net neutrality, Internet providers could intentionally slow speeds down in a process called "throttling". Companies such as Google and Facebook were only able to reach the level of success that they did because of Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality affects every single one of us. If one were to take note of the ever-increasing rate at which innovations have been made in social media, smartphone apps, and computing, then how could one say that the very regulations that keep the internet open are a detriment to progress? The World Wide Web, the portion of the Internet used by 99 percent of users, was created to be open source, and remain open source, to encourage innovation and sharing of knowledge.

Despite a biting wind, a few dedicated residents gathered outside the Russel Cellular Verizon Store on Route 11 in support of net neutrality on Thursday, ahead of the Federal Communications Commission vote, which is expected on December 14.


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