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St. Rose professor weighs in on net neutrality rules rollback

December 14, 2017 05:38 PM

It could be life in the fast lane or life in the relatively slow lane for your favorite website or app.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules.

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The FCC now leaves it up to internet providers like Spectrum and Verizon to speed up some sites and block others completely if they so choose.

"On the one hand, people are worried that the companies with lots of money would be able to stop companies with little money from getting started," said Paul Conti, St. Rose Associate Professor of Communications.

The 2015 rules came in to play as sites like Netflix and Hulu exploded. According to Cisco, about 75 percent of the internet data currently goes to video streaming and that share is only expected to increase.

The rules supported net neutrality, the idea that all websites would load at the same speed.  They prevented Spectrum and Verizon from charging companies like Netflix a premium to allow you to load some sites faster.

Critics are worried that an $80 billion company like Netflix can afford to pay Verizon to have "Stranger Things" load up lightning fast...and small businesses without the cash might be left in the slower lane.

Paul Conti is pro net neutrality, but says people on the other side argue the internet is clogged with needless traffic slowing it down and that Spectrum and Verizon should be able to restrict it or block it.

"Spam, illegal downloads. And why shouldn't the Internet carriers be able to stop that?" said Conti.

It's up to the internet providers now.

Charter sent us a statement that says "We don't slow down, block, or discriminate against lawful content."

Verizon said the company "supports the Open Internet, and is committed to offering services that allow our customers to take full advantage of all of the lawful content..."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the vote is a mockery and based on a corrupted public comment process. Around 22 million comments were sent to the FCC this summer. Schneiderman says as many as many as two million were fake. Now, Schneiderman says he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to challenge this rollback of rules.  

 

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Asa Stackel

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