Local lawyer on the impact of net neutrality and what’s at stake

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN/NBC) – There’s been a lot of talk about net neutrality this past week and  2 NEWS learned not many people in the Miami Valley know what that means.

The Republican-helmed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a proposal last week to repeal net neutrality.

In short, net neutrality rules treat the internet like a utility, helping to control what consumers are charged and ensuring there is no paid prioritization where internet service providers would be free to create so-called fast and slow lanes, allowing them to choose whether to block or slow certain websites and to charge more for better quality.

“If net neutrality providers are going to be able to charge more, slow down those services or block those services unless you agree to pay an additional fee,” said Dayton Cyber-security Attorney, Zachary Heck.

On one side are internet service providers, who believe rolling back the Obama-era rules will allow them to innovate and offer customers new options at more competitive prices. Tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Apple, have warned that this could set a dangerous precedent, allowing these internet service providers to become gatekeepers of information and entertainment.

Under the FCC’S proposal, providers of high-speed Internet services, like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, would be able to block websites and charge web companies for speedier delivery of content.

“The potential for blocking certain websites or services based on content will be available. So, we really don’t know what that application will look like, but the power is going to be there,” said Heck.

The vote to repeal net neutrality is expected to happen Dec. 14th. Heck says if you support an open and free internet call your elected officials to make your voice heard.

To read a statement released last week by the FCC Chairman, click here.

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