FCC proposal would kill net neutrality

Thursday, November 23, 2017
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The Federal Communications Commission has released a draft of its plan to kill net-neutrality rules.

The Federal Communications Commission has released a draft of its plan to kill net-neutrality rules, which equalize access to the internet and prevent broadband providers from favoring their own apps and services.

Killing net neutrality will allow companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to charge internet companies for speedier access to consumers and to block outside services they don't like. The change also axes a host of consumer protections, including privacy requirements and rules barring price gouging and unfair practices.

That worries groups representing consumers and minority communities who could be hurt without net neutrality protections.

RELATED: What is net neutrality?

Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, says lower-income people will be impacted if internet service providers raise their rates.

"We're talking about Latinos, were talking about African-Americans, were talking about poor white Americans across the country," Nogales said. "The elderly. All those people who cannot afford to pay high prices for their internet service."

Under President Barack Obama, ISPs were treated like utilities, providing a necessary service. But the net neutrality regulations will likely be scrapped under a plan proposed by the FCC's new chairman, appointed by President Donald Trump.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the old rules discourage investments that could provide better service and under his proposal, the government will stop micromanaging the internet.

Clifford Neuman, the director of the University of Southern California's Center for Computer Systems Security, says consumers are concerned ISPs would reduce network bandwidth to alternative providers.

"Such as Google, Apple, providers of television programs, providers of phone services that would make those services perform poorer than the internet service providers' own offerings."

The FCC is expected to vote on the plan Dec. 14. With three Republicans and two Democrats, the vote is expected to fall along party lines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.