Internet service providers now have more control over your web surfing

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 8:21pm

The "Net Neutrality" rule created by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010 was intended to ensure equal access to all types of online content. On Tuesday, this ruling was struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals, on the grounds that the FCC did not have the legal authority to enact these regulations.

Internet service providers now have the option to prioritize which online content you visit, and how fast you're able to access that information. KETK spoke with former FCC Chairman Harold Furchtgott-Roth, who insisted this will not have a huge impact on consumers. Furchtgott-Roth said, "Online service providers want to get information to consumers, and on the other side consumers want to get information, and now this opens up a lot of new and innovative price instructions for that to happen".

Internet providers are already reaching out. Suddenlink issued the following statement, " The cable industry has always embraced the principles of an open internet, and the court decision will not change that. Consumers have always been entitled to enjoy the legal web content of their choosing and they will continue to do so".

Advocates of this ruling believe it will encourage a more competitive marketplace. Statistics show 57 percent of Americans have access to three or more internet service providers. However, in places like Tyler, this is not the case. East Texas Representative Matt Schaefer from District 6 said, "The problem here is that we don't really have a situation that the government has allowed a lot of free enterprise. So I do think people should be concerned, and we really need to speak out about this issue".

Opponents of the ruling are also worried that service providers can potentially charge consumers based on the type of content or sites visited. For those that frequent Netflix or Hulu, internet bandwidth could be slowed to encourage visiting another site.

The FCC may appeal this ruling.

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