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Net Neutrality Supporters Protest FCC Rule Review

One media expert contends the net neutrality debate is just a red herring in a larger conversation about Internet control. (Pixabay)
One media expert contends the net neutrality debate is just a red herring in a larger conversation about Internet control. (Pixabay)
July 12, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. – After winning the battle for open Internet rules two years ago, net neutrality advocates are hoping a wave of public comments can help them keep the rules in place.

Net Neutrality Day of Action is an online protest Wednesday of the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision to roll back its 2015 rule guaranteeing consumers equal access to the Internet.

As a media expert, Gus Hurwitz with the University of Nebraska has been following the debate for nearly a decade. He contends the real issue is not net neutrality, but rather how much authority the FCC should have over the Internet.

"The net neutrality concerns, they're a red herring,” he states. “They're the football that has been put into play in what's really much bigger political fight over, 'How should we structure this industry? What's the government's role in regulating this industry?'"

ISP giants, such as Comcast and Verizon, would be allowed to charge content providers more for higher speeds. They maintain they will not block content.

The FCC is currently in its public comment period before finalizing its decision on loosening the rules. Nearly 4 million public comments helped usher in the current net neutrality rule.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the regulations shackle the cable and telecom industries.

But Marty Newell, coordinator of the Rural Broadband Policy Group, counters that net neutrality has not slowed down investment or innovation. He says it allows all users equal access.

"Everybody deserves a fair shake on the Internet,” he states. “Big Internet service providers ought not to be
able to pick winners and losers. They ought not be able to block content, lawful content."

Amazon, Vimeo and Netflix are among the tech companies that support net neutrality.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE