FCC Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality

December 14, 2017 10:57 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A vote to repeal Net Neutrality rules Thursday could change the way internet providers treat web traffic.

In a 3 - 2 vote, the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission ended the Obama - era protocol.


“This decision will not break the internet,” said Republican FCC Commissioner, Michael O’Reilly. “What we are doing is reverting back to the highly-successful, bipartisan approach that existed before 2015.”

“It is painful for me to say that this is the new norm at the FCC,” said Democrat FCC Commissioner, Mignon Clyburn. “A norm where the majority ignores the will of the people.

Netflix is calling the decision misguided as Comcast praises it.

PJ Calkins, the Chief Strategy Officer at Corporate Web Services (CWS) in Rochester, breaks down what the reversal means.

He says those who will be hurt the most will be small businesses. “Internet service providers here might see 'Hey, there is high traffic to QuickBooks online and that service, so we can go to local businesses and say we are going to charge more for that access. Or we are just going to cut that access off’.”

At the same time, Calkins says internet providers can slow down access to websites if businesses refuse to pay extra, which in turn could limit consumer's options.

Though he doesn't believe there will be any change initially, “You usually don't see people flocking to the streets, protesting in major cities unless it is a big move,” he said.

Calkins believes nothing is set in stone, saying a new administration could come in and bring back net neutrality in the future. He advises consumers to take a side, and take action.

“Bring it to the state government level and see if you can get laws passed,” said Calkins.

Any changes would not take place for several months.  Broadband companies have vowed not to make changes and the FCC says it will continue to protect consumers.

Attorneys General from several states, including Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, have said they are preparing a lawsuit to fight the ruling.


Hannah Tiede

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