'Net Neutrality' vote could change future of the internet

You've been hearing this phrase a lot lately: Net Neutrality.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The future of the internet could drastically change pending a vote by the Federal Communications Commission in December.

RELATED: FCC set to overturn Obama-era net neutrality rules with Dec. 14 vote

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has proposed getting rid of regulations that establish the concept of net neutrality on the internet. Net neutrality is the idea that people should be free to access all content on the web equally, regardless of where it comes from. It also holds that internet service providers should not be able to promote one website or service over another.

In a statement, released Tuesday, Pai called existing regulations heavy-handed.

"It's depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation," he said.

Aram Sinnreich, an associate professor at American University's School of Communication, disagrees with Pai's assessment.

"The notion that net neutrality is holding back the broadband internet providers from making a product or investing in infrastructure is ludicrous, he said. "These are companies that make tens of billions of dollars a year in profit and have been rolling out better and better infrastructure."

Sinnreich told WUSA9 he is concerned that if net neutrality were to cease, the internet would begin to look a lot more like cable television.

"We'll have fewer options as to where we get our content, and the service providers will be able to create bundles of stuff that they sell to us," he said.

On top of that, service providers could promote web entities they own over other services. Some fear websites could be slowed down or blocked altogether in a post-net neutrality world.

The FCC is slated to vote on these possible changes December 14th.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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