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Proposed Internet Rules Affect San Diego Consumers

A San Diego State University lecturer said consumers should be paying attention to the emerging debate over who controls the access to the internet's content.

The issue was revived last week when proposed rules being worked out by federal officials were made public.

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Essentially, the Federal Communications Commission is preparing guidelines that would allow internet providers to create a "fast-lane" that is only open to content providers who pay for access.

That could be an advantage for companies that stream large amounts of content over high-speed connections.

The proposal came after an appeals court struck down rules keeping internet companies from slowing the movement of certain data.

Lance Larson, a San Diego State University lecturer, said consumers should be paying attention because the debate will ultimately have an impact on consumer pocketbooks.

"Consumers are watching more video content like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime," Larson said. "And is it really fair to the internet service providers in the question? Should they be allowed to regulate and create that toll road versus the freeway?"

Consumer advocates say the proposed rules might end up being a way for large companies to squeeze out competition.

The argument is that existing companies like Netflix, Google and Facebook have an advantage because they can afford to pay for the high-speed access.

Start-ups might struggle because they lack the money to compete.

Critics also fear the proposed rules would lead to higher prices for video-streaming customers.

The FCC guidelines are just a proposal at this time, but the agency is widely expected to vote on the issue sometime this summer.

Comments

Avatar for user 'kdean'

kdean | April 28, 2014 at 10:53 a.m. ― 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed, one of the most non reported stories that will have a HUGE impact on consumers, television, and radio. Thanks ERIK for spreading the word.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 28, 2014 at 2:12 p.m. ― 5 months, 3 weeks ago

This is just another example of America's wealth re-distribution to the wealthy.

Let's make it so only people who pay $$ have reliable access to the internet and only multi-billion dollar companies can stay in the game and have no competition.

I'm sure the same imbeciles will claim this is "capitalism" when all it is amounts to power consolidation.

Information is power and money, and it's hardly surprising the big corporations want to dig in and have rules made to greatly favor themselves before the issue really gets on front and center of the public's radar.

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Avatar for user 'sdkelly'

sdkelly | April 28, 2014 at 2:24 p.m. ― 5 months, 3 weeks ago

It's a license to provide Cadillac service to only clients that pay extra while letting the broad base of internet service lag and flounder even more than ever. (we've already fallen far behind the performance of rest of the developed world at significantly greater consumer cost.)
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In addition to increasingly inadequate service at increasing cost, we can enjoy the promise that the next greatest innovation on the internet will only be able to occur outside the US.
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If the US internet services performed anywhere near the top compared to other countries with first rate service, carrying TV services on it wouldn't even be much of a burden and there would be no need for a 'fast lane'. ...almost as if it was let to lag so it would need an extra money fast lane.
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Just sayin'

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Avatar for user 'VS_2013'

VS_2013 | April 28, 2014 at 3:41 p.m. ― 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks so much for writing this, Erik! SDSU students and faculty will be especially impacted by hits to net neutrality, as the educational realm will no longer have a guarantee of free and open flow of information. However, even if we try to keep the net neutral, students still run the risk of having their personal online information mined for commercial use or used against them in a court of law. This violates our right to privacy, and the university should step up and ensure that all student data within its network is encrypted.

If you are an SDSU student, alum, or faculty member, please sign the petition at the link below. Only 100 signatures needed to deliver the petition to the school and demand an answer on keeping student data private!

http://www.askthem.io/questions/531fa71bec8d83f43100000b

-Veronica, SDSU Alum

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