Attorney General Tom Miller, Drake Business Professor Weigh in on Net Neutrality Vote

DES MOINES, Iowa — With Thursday’s vote to dismantle net neutrality regulations comes concern over how this issue was tackled by the FCC and what it means for the future of the internet.

In its simplest form, dismantling net neutrality means internet providers can offer a fast lane for certain services.

Think of it like a pay to use fast-lane on the highway.  In some cities during rush hour you can avoid the headache of being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic by paying a fee jump into the exclusive lane; except on the internet, it’s rush hour all the time. That might be an easy decision for those who can afford it, but for people trying to decide between groceries and shorter buffering times, they’ll have to wait in the traffic jam.

“Consumers could experience delays on the sites that they visit frequently, their pricing could change based on their usage and I think that’s important for consumers to know” said Drake Business Professor Dr. Matthew Mitchell.

Some fear that if taken to the extreme companies would be able to offer a basic internet plan for cheaper, but then force customers to pay add-on prices for social media services, video streaming, and sports websites.

The FCC billed deregulation as a way to spur innovation. Dr. Mitchell says while that may be true for how many pricing plans an internet service provider can offer, it could have the opposite effect on small businesses and startups.

“I think if you think about putting barriers and increased costs to start ups, to entrepreneurs, to be able to compete directly with the largest organizations out there, I think it could have a chilling effect on innovation” he said.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller opposes the repeal and believes this vote from the FCC is not the end of the debate.

“83% of Americans want this regulation …I think there will be some litigation, we will consider being involved with some other states in litigation” said Miller.

Dr. Mitchell says either the courts, or the legislature will have to work to define what the internet is.

“Is it more like telephones and cable? Or is it more like a public good and information source that everyone should have equal access to” he said.

Another issue Attorney General Miller is concerned over are the millions of fake public comments which were submitted to the FCC. A coalition of state Attorney’s General says there is evidence of a criminal effort to sway the commission.

It’s believed that over 20 thousand illegitimate comments came from Iowa.