Local expert weighs in on possible repeal of net neutrality

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Internet speed and the content you are able to search for on the web could soon change with the potential repeal of net neutrality regulations. But what exactly is net neutrality and what happens if it is repealed?

WWAY sat down with UNCW Computer Science Assistant Professor Lucas Layman who breaks down what the regulations are for.

“Essentially if net neutrality is repealed the internet service providers will have a say in which content you receive in a timely manner. And you won’t have any control over that,” Layman said.

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on whether to repeal net neutrality regulations in a matter of weeks.

“Net neutrality is governed by three rules,” Layman said. “Basically says internet providers can’t slow down your access based on what you’re watching, they can’t block what you’re doing unless it’s illegal, and they can’t prefer certain businesses on the internet like Netflix or Hulu over other businesses.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said repealing the regulations would stop the current micromanagement of the internet, put engineers and entrepreneurs back in charge, and would increase and protect competition and consumers.

“So the argument that the internet service providers are making and are lobbying for is that look not everyone uses Netflix and Youtube so they don’t need high quality stuff. So we’re going to be able to offer them discounted plans for their internet because they don’t use those services,” Layman said.

It is a move Layman disagrees with.

“You have to ask yourself the question, who does repealing net neutrality benefit? It does not benefit you the consumer,” Layman said. “It takes away some of your choice and some of your freedoms that you enjoy right now.”

Aside from possible additional costs, Layman said the repeal may also intrude on free speech.

“A business agreement to provide content from say one type of news source conservative leaning, liberal leaning, one perspective on anything right,” Layman said. “It’s potentially skewing your ability to get the full picture.”

Layman wants everyone to do their research about net neutrality and contact the FCC regardless of their opinion. Pai announced the plans to repeal “the heavy-handed internet regulations” last week to return to the way things were before 2015.

FCC Commissioners will vote on whether to repeal net neutrality regulations  December 14.

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