How you use the internet and what you pay for speed and some say maybe even your favorite content – is up for debate again. In 2015, many consumers thought the issue was resolved when the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted on net neutrality.
Many consumer groups favored the new rules, which they said provided equal access to customers. The FCC saying in 2015 that the providers could not be left to simply make up their own rules. The idea was that providers should not be able to block access or slow down access to “smaller” customers and play favorites to “big” customers who were willing to pay a lot more. In 2015, the FCC said basically if the Internet was a highway, that everyone deserved the same sized lane.
Well, now there is a new administration and several new FCC members, including the chairman. And Thursday, the FCC voted to begin rolling back net neutrality.
Bryon Henry, and intellectual property attorney told us his take on net neutrality. ” It’s just basically like we’re gong to mandate that the Internet all be the same for everybody whether you’re willing to pay $20 a month or $200,” he said. “To say that everybody is entitled to the same Internet without additional charges, that’s not free market.”
Byron acknowledges that net neutrality may have certainly helped some consumers but falls more on the side of the new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai who said net neutrality provides too many regulations and hurts business and that rolling back the rules will “restore Internet freedom.”
“As long as there are protections in place to make sure there is not content based discrimination and to ensure people get Internet access, I think the free market and the new chairman have the better argument,” Henry told us. “Although there’s some strong, vocal proponents neutrality and they’re not going away. There will probably be a lawsuit if the rules are changed.”
Members of the public have until August 16 to comment to the FCC on what they want in terms of net neutrality , i.e. should it go or should it stay.
Meanwhile, one member of the FCC (who favors net neutrality) wrote Thursday that new FCC members are suggesting the same old trickle down economic theory that if we just “remove enough rules that internet providers will automatically improve service and give us more savings.”