Will Net Neutrality Soon Be A Thing of The Past?

The debate on whether or not to repeal Obama-era internet regulations rages on.

Jake Neher/WDET

The Federal Communications Commission plans to vote on December 14 to repeal Obama-era regulations that protect net neutrality. 

The current rules ensure that Internet Service Providers — or ISPs — such as Comcast or Verizon aren’t able to block or slow down certain websites they don’t like.

Net neutrality ensures everything on the internet is treated equally. But some FCC commissioners think the regulations are unnecessary, and is a hinderance on the free market. 

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr speaks with Detroit Today Senior Producer Laura Weber-Davis about what repealing net neutrality regulations could mean for the future of the internet in the United States. 

Carr feels there’s been some misunderstanding about what the move would actually mean.

According to Carr, if the vote in December goes through, it will bring back the “exact same regulatory framework that governed the internet in 2015, and for the twenty years that proceeded that. This is not going to eliminate net neutrality as a concept that people understand it and it’s not going to remove all legal restrictions on what ISPs can and cannot do.”

“We’re trying to get the government out of the business of micromanaging how the internet operates,” says Carr. 

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.) also joins the show, speaking with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson, about the upcoming vote to repeal internet regulations.

Kildee, who is in favor of keeping the Obama-era internet regulations in place, says internet rules are not meant to curb technological innovation. Instead, it’s about preventing ISPs from being able to “change the market structure for their own benefit.” 

“The idea that this is, sort of, a free-market question misses the point that the internet has not evolved as just, sort of, another service that people can procure,” says Kildee.

“It’s a platform that is a fundamental part of our societal infrastructure now and we should never have a situation where the people who own that can somehow steer us in a direction that benefits their financial interest.”

Stine Eckert, assistant professor of communication at Wayne State University, and James Gattuso, senior research fellow in the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, also join the show to discuss differing views on net neutrality regulations. 

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 


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