Get Gephardt investigates what's at stake with a Net Neutrality repeal

Get Gephardt investigates what's at stake with a Net Neutrality repeal. (Photo: KUTV)

You've probably seen the people talking about it your social-media feeds. There is a big vote Thursday in the fight for the open internet. The Federal Communications Commission will vote on a plan to dismantle so-called "net neutrality" protections.

It has Michael Muyot concerned. His two tech companies rely on the internet to provide research to stock exchanges like the Nasdaq.

"We pretty much live and breathe through the internet,” he said.

Net neutrality is aimed at ensuring equal access to the internet.

You can think of net neutrality kind of like rules of the road. For example, imagine a two-lane road for which the speed limit 25 miles per hour. It's neutral for everybody.

But what if one lane was set at 25 mph and the other lane was 125 mph, and the only way to use the fast lane was to pay more money. It's not neutral anymore.

Still, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argues Net Neutrality stifles investment.

"Many companies, big and small, have told us that they're holding back on investment in their internet networks,” Pai said.

For example, an internet company might not be excited to install new high-speed fiber lines in your neighborhood if they couldn’t recoup its costs quickly enough.

But the proposed repeal of net neutrality has sparked protests on Capitol Hill and online. Critics worry that internet providers could charge companies who rely on the internet more for faster connections. Those costs would almost certainly be passed on to consumers.

Take, for example, Muyot’s companies. He says he can’t afford to pay more to use an internet fast lane, so he’d have to pass the costs on to his customers.

The net neutrality repeal measure is expected to pass along party lines. The commission is made up of three Republicans and two Democrats.

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