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Open Internet at Stake This Week in U.S. Senate

Supporters of net neutrality say it gives consumers equal Internet access. (Pixabay)
Supporters of net neutrality say it gives consumers equal Internet access. (Pixabay)
May 14, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. – Supporters of a free and open Internet are making a last ditch plea to federal lawmakers to save net neutrality.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on a Congressional Review Act resolution to block the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of 2015 consumer Internet protections, which expire June 11.

Marty Newell, coordinator of the Rural Broadband Policy Group at the Center for Rural Strategies, explains that net neutrality gives consumers equal access.

"There's a number of instances before which providers either slowed down some traffic for sites that were competitors of theirs or they would promote fast lanes for a fee," he points out.

FCC chair Ajit Pai calls the net neutrality regulations unnecessary and harmful, and says a new framework will be established that will encourage innovation and investment and compel broadband providers to disclose their practices.

But Newell counters the rollback would favor large corporations, squeezing out the little guy.

"And in rural America, if we're competing against folks that can afford to buy faster lanes or afford to slow us down, then it's not a level playing field," he points out.

Some opponents maintain net neutrality deters investment in broadband infrastructure.

But Newell stresses that is not in line with what companies such as AT and T and Comcast have reported to their shareholders and in FCC filings.

"And they have only said that they have increased their investment, that they are continuing to push out deployment to unserved and underserved areas, and that a stable regulatory environment is a better deal for them than an uncertain one," he states.

A University of Maryland poll found the majority of voters of all parties oppose repealing net neutrality.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE