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The Arguments For and Against Net Neutrality

The Arguments For and Against Net Neutrality


Art Neill, executive director, New Media Rights at California Western School of Law

Erik Anderson, reporter, KPBS


The term "net neutrality" has been making headlines in recent days, but it seems to be a subject people either care about or know nothing about.

Net neutrality refers to keeping the Internet as open and fair as possible. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday proposed new rules that he thinks would ensure net neutrality.

It would regulate Internet services like a public utility and prohibit content providers from paying Internet companies to buy faster lanes.

"It really means maintaining all those things that we really like about the Internet — the fact that we can connect to the applications and the services of our choice, the fact that we can innovate. And there are a lot of innovators here in San Diego that rely on an open accessible Internet to bring their products and services to the world," Art Neill, executive director at New Media Rights at the California Western School of Law, told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday.

Neill said the rules could be approved by the FCC when it goes before the five-member panel on Feb. 26, but the commission will need to ensure it's actually enforced.

"All it is a set of prescriptive rules that says to Internet services providers, 'Hey, these are a couple of things you shouldn't be doing. It's still up to the FCC to actually enforce the rules," he said.

Wheeler's proposal has received support from consumer groups and powerful companies including Netflix and Google.

Opponents of the idea say net neutrality would discourage investment and increase taxes.

San Diego area Internet service providers include Cox Communications, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon. Hank Hultquis, AT&T vice president of federal regulatory, said in a corporate blog that a legal battle will ensue if the rules are adopted.

What Is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality explained by education website,

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