A few years ago, the net neutrality debate was raging. People were calling their elected officials, taking to the streets, and even protesting outside the White House. Then in February 2015, Barack Obama signed into law some of the strictest net neutrality rules yet, preventing internet service providers from throttling or interfering with data speeds for whatever reason they see fit. Now, the new administration has decided that these laws aren't necessary, with plans to vote down net neutrality in a December vote. And most Americans are pissed.
According to a survey from ExpressVPN, nearly 75 percent of Americans will react negatively if their internet service provider stops treating all data the same, which is looking more and more likely as the vote approaches.
“It is clear that Americans do not want their ISPs to be in control of how they use the internet – and the FCC should listen to its constituents and defend, not destroy, net neutrality,” said Harold Li, vice president of ExpressVPN in a press release.
That wasn't the only significant number that came out of the study. Nearly half (43 percent) of respondents said that they would switch providers if they found out they were treating data differently, while 21 percent claimed they would expressly complain to the FCC. And, for those in Washington planning on pulling the plug, nearly 20 percent of respondents said they would seek to vote out elected officials that don't support net neutrality.
With this many Americans in favor of net neutrality, what are the options for internet users hoping to forego the hassle of the potentially abandoned rules? One option is to use a VPN for your internet access needs.
“If the FCC overturns the rules, Americans can get around it by using a VPN. A VPN is useful because it encrypts the sites and services you are accessing, making it harder for your ISPs to track your activity,” said Li. “While the ISP can theoretically throttle the entire VPN connection, they are less likely to do so, making a VPN a great workaround in case your ISP is doing any throttling. And Americans agree—1 in 6 admit that they’d use a VPN to circumvent throttling by their ISP.”
If you don't want to set up a VPN, or simply don't feel like these rules should be abandoned at all, it's time to speak up. The vote is around the corner and reaching out to elected officials is one way you can really make a difference. Or, you can join the battle for net neutrality here. Do your part to save the internet!