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Group: Internet "Fast Lane" Ruling Could Put MT in the Slow Lane

PHOTO: The National Rural Assembly says potential FCC rule changes to the Internet could be another blow to areas of Montana still waiting for affordable broadband service. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: The National Rural Assembly says potential FCC rule changes to the Internet could be another blow to areas of Montana still waiting for affordable broadband service. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
May 15, 2014

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to vote today on a proposal that could create an Internet fast lane and that has implications for Montana.

If the FCC gives the go-ahead, Internet service providers could sell faster Internet speeds to businesses that can afford them.

Dee Davis, chairman of the National Rural Assembly, says he fears this would be another blow to areas of the country still waiting for affordable high-speed service.

"Rural communities, who haven't yet really gotten the full access to the power of the Internet, are going to be left out when these rules shake down," he maintains.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has tried to mute criticism, claiming on the agency's website that there is no turnaround in policy and behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.

Still, Davis is concerned that changes to the rules will give big providers the chance to play favorites.

"What we're going to see is fewer start-ups, fewer mom-and-pop, rural, untethered, inner-city kinds of organizations being able to make their mark," he says.

The FCC is set to review proposed changes when it meets today.

Bottom line, Davis says the FCC needs to keep the Internet fair and open – a concept that net neutrality has protected.


Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT