What the Net Neutrality Repeals Mean for PennInTouch (Hint: It Still Sucks)


Photo by Joy Lee / The Daily Pennsylvanian

As you may have heard about a month ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality—the idea that all data on the Internet should be treated as the same by service providers.

No one really knows what this means for the future of the Internet, but many experts contend that it may cause slowdowns on networks. Some argue that as competition inevitably increases, the Internet will get even faster.

We, at UTB, take analysis seriously and wanted to explore the implications of the repeal for one of Penn’s most important Internet services, PennInTouch. In the end, our findings were pretty trivial and you could have probably guessed the results. Here they are anyway:

PennInTouch still is and will always be the bane of our existence.

Months after granting the ability to open two tabs at once for its 50 concurrent users, the site is projected to go back to one tab only. By our estimates, wait times to get in for advance registration may exceed 13 days, and the period is only 12 days long.

We asked a few students to share their opinions on net neutrality and PennInTouch.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, and I’m sure many people won’t be able to graduate on time because of it. But speaking of net neutrality…I don’t think PennInTouch was ever neutral—I have never gotten a damn course I truly wanted,” offered Marcus Tatum (W ’18).

Others didn’t hold back. “This sounds like a totally unreasonable and unprofessional way of handling a foreseeable, preventable problem,” said Richard Parker (C ’18), seemingly agitated.

If there’s anything to be hopeful about, it’s that you probably won’t be able to recognize the loss of net neutrality’s impact on PennInTouch anyway. Sessions will inevitability time out and ruin people’s plans for years to come, until the release of PennInTouch’s future successor in late 2020.