The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality Thursday afternoon. The federal regulations revised in 2015 were put into place to prevent internet service providers (ISP) from blocking or upcharging for use of specific content. The elimination of net neutrality has left customers uneasy about their future ability to access information and how much it will cost them.
Christopher Bond, PR professor from Missouri Western State University, explains the changes with an analogy, using a library to represent internet access.
“It’s like going to the library. You can browse the books for free, you can and you can interact with someone that works at the library. However if this passes and Congress does not offer a resolution, the library is going to change; it’s going to become a bookstore,” Bond said. “Books are pricey, they are going to have a select amount of books based on the publishers that are able to provide and print those books.”
In addition to changes in pricing, the FCC is also opening up the floodgates for ISPs to release consumer information. Selling off customer information ranging from previous Google searches, to shopping trends and how often you visit your favorite websites.
“This is going to affect policy and politics more than we think it is. When you have larger corporations and their initiatives being controlled by the government and only by a monopoly;We are going to have an opportunity for larger political initiatives to be instilled into the larger public,” Bond said.
Advocacy groups like the Free Press Action Fund are urging Congress to overturn the FCC’s decision. Congress has a 60 day window to address the elimination of net neutrality.Several state attorney generals have also threatened lawsuits against the federal government if nothing is done.