Graphic by Free Press

The current Federal Communications Commission is on a deregulation roll. At the agency’s December 14 Open Commission Meeting, the commissioners are expected to vote 3-2 to dismantle net neutrality, ending the existing requirement for Internet service providers to treat all Net content equally. Broadband providers will be able to block websites they don’t like, and create preferential speeds and pricing for those they prefer.

 In an article entitled “FCC plan would give Internet providers power to choose the sites customers see and use”, Washington Post technology reporter Brian Fung outlines some of the consequences of ending this guarantee of an open, equally accessible Internet.  Among those likely to be hurt the most – anyone on a tight budget, particularly low-income consumers.

 Chairman Pai states:

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”

The following quote can be attributed to Angela Siefer, Director of NDIA:

Choosing the internet service plan that is best for one’s household assumes there is choice of internet service providers with multiple speed and price offerings. This is not always the case, particularly in rural and inner city neighborhoods. The internet service market is experiencing a failure. We know AT&T has digitally redlined some low income communities . Might the deregulation of the Internet lead to additional digital redlining? Very likely we will see the dismantling of net neutrality leading to additional digital divides.

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