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PNS Daily Newscast - April 20, 2018 


The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

Daily Newscasts

Backers of Net Neutrality Promise the Fight Isn't Over

Tech companies and public interest groups promise to fight the Federal Communication Commission's decision to repeal net neutrality rules. (generationjustice.org)
Tech companies and public interest groups promise to fight the Federal Communication Commission's decision to repeal net neutrality rules. (generationjustice.org)
December 15, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The way people use the internet could radically change now that the Federal Communications Commission has scrapped net neutrality.

As expected, the five-member FCC ended regulations that guaranteed equal access to the internet. In a party-line vote, the commission handed U.S. telecommunication companies broad powers to increase prices and limit variety, speed and diversity online - a move that could transform users' experience.

Roberta Rael, director of the group New Mexico Generation Justice, says the commission ignored surveys showing the vast majority of Americans were against the change - and it's disappointing politics played a role.

"I don't care what party you are part of, I don't care what your political beliefs are; we are all going to be hurt by the monetizing and the privatizing of the Internet," she laments.

The FCC called the decision "restoring internet freedom," with the three members who voted for it insisting it will promote competition. But public-interest groups, including the National Hispanic Media Coalition, as well as the Netflix company, have promised a "long legal battle" to restore net neutrality.

Those who favor net neutrality say small businesses and entrepreneurs could lose what has been a level playing field in the digital space and could find it impossible to compete against industry giants with deep pockets that are willing to pay more.

Rael says many rural residents can't afford the current cost of internet, and having to pay more could be crippling.

"In a state like New Mexico that we have a lot of small business people - that's going to be detrimental to our economics," she says. "And we already are so economically challenged in New Mexico."

Rael also worries that people in rural areas who use the internet to connect with health providers could lose access they've come to depend on. The FCC's ruling reversed a decision made in 2015 to regulate the Internet much like a public utility, in order to protect Americans as they migrated online for most communications.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM