EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Today the FCC voted in favor of imposing strict new net neutrality regulations on Internet service providers.
Among some of the new rules the FCC voted on Thursday, one of them will prevent service providers from intentionally blocking or slowing web traffic.
Another would prohibit broadband providers from creating what is called Internet fast lanes, allowing them to charge companies more money for faster internet speeds.
MSU Professor in the Department of Media and Information, Johannes Bauer, said without regulation there are risks that could allow users to exploit loopholes.
“There are good reasons for there to be net neutrality,” Bauer said. “Net neutrality is actually the principle upon which the internet was built historically, every traffic was treated alike, there were no privileges.”
From streaming TV shows, to simply pulling up a YouTube video, with just a tap of a finger or click of a mouse, the FCC voted in favor of rules to keep the internet working like it does now.
“Everybody is affected differently which makes it so complicated, in fact all of the stakeholders as what the best policy is.. almost everybody agrees that some protection of an open internet is desirable,” Bauer said.
But there are risk factors for broadband companies who provide it.
“It will make it more difficult for providers to come up with business that are sustainable in this new very competitive environment,” Bauer said.
But, he said although companies could take a financial hit, users will reap the benefits.
“They will benefit from the protection that these rules provide because they have safeguards now to be able to freely access information,” he said. “Little entrepreneurs starting up companies have the protection that they can launch to innovations without having to ask for permission.”
Bauer said his biggest concern with the whole idea is the standard of regulation that allows people to create loopholes in the system.
“It leaves open the risk that unattended consequences may escalate and go totally out of order eventually we’ll have internet that is heavily regulated,” he said.
It’s important to keep in mind that just because the FCC voted in favor of this new regulation Thursday, it does not mean it will go into effect right away.
The rules are expected to trigger lawsuits by broadband providers and other opponents, which could in-turn, drag out for years.