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Consumers, businesses brace for impact as FCC looks to roll back 'Net Neutrality' rules

Posted at 7:53 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 20:06:03-05

It’s the announcement that has internet users like Kenneth Nicholson concerned. 

“I think the internet should be open for everybody to gain whatever type of knowledge they want,” he says. “I don’t want anybody to tell me ‘hey, I can’t access these websites if I use their service’”

The FCC is now considering a proposal that could mean the end of net neutrality as we know it. 

The current policy prevents internet providers from blocking, slowing access, or charging fees for online content and services. 

It prevents so called “fast lanes” for speedier access. 

But FCC chairman Ajit Pai says he wants to roll back those rules to “restore internet freedom and eliminate heavy handed internet regulations”

What does that mean for you, the consumer?

Analysts say It could lead to companies limiting what services you access. It could also lead to higher prices to access that content.

For example, imagine having to pay a special “social networking fee” to your internet service provider to access Facebook, or an extra “streaming fee” to ensure your Netflix runs at a quality speed.

Shay Berman is president of local marketing agency ‘Digital Resource’. 

“It is a little bit concerning in what those big ISP’s could do with that power,” he says. 

Berman says internet reliant business like his could see also issues with access and higher prices. 

“There’s a lot of things that could happen to not only to our business, but our client’s businesses when trying to advertise and compete online.”

He says it could also make it harder for other startups to get off the ground. 

“It’s not just the typical barriers to entry that any business has, but now you have to deal with this internet barrier to entry.”

The vote on Net Neutrality is expected to take place on December 14, with many analysts expecting the proposal to be adopted.