UW professor explains impact of potential net neutrality rollback

UW professor explains impact of potential net neutrality rollback

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on net neutrality in December, so we wanted to know what this would mean for internet users.

Barry Orton, a University of Wisconsin professor emeritus, specializes in telecommunications policy, cable television and internet utilization.

“So net neutrality is the idea that you treat the internet like the important thing it is in our economy and our lives, not like cable television, which technically and legally is like a luxury,” Orton said.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai promised to repeal net neutrality rules, which were enacted under President Barack Obama’s administration.

Under net neutrality, internet service providers like Charter, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon do not have the right to control internet content. They also do not have the ability to decide which online content loads the fastest on computers and apps.

“They should provide the internet service,” said Orton. “They can provide it at a price that’s reasonable, but they can’t control what goes on it, and they can’t slow down Netflix, if Netflix doesn’t decide to pay a premium to AT&T.”

While internet service providers support the repeal of net neutrality, content providers like Google, Amazon and Netflix want net neutrality to stay.

Orton said repealing it would mean users would have to pay more for internet.

“The provider of the service is going to charge more, and then they’re going to charge the Netflix and the CNNs of the world more to carry them on the fast lane, and they will of course charge the consumer more,” Orton said.