Washington, D.C. (KINY) The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has repealed the net neutrality rules that treated internet service as a utility.
With net neutrality, all sites and services were served under an equal connection speed, but without those rules there could be fast lanes for particular sites, slowed or blocked sites at the discretion of the ISP, or prioritize companies that have the funds to buy that favor.
Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC claims otherwise. "By taking these heavy handed rules off the table by establishing a bipartisan, light touch approach that we've had for 20 years, we will see a lot more competition."
The amount of opposition to the repeal of net neutrality is staggering. Many groups have already called for lawsuits, several ISP providers have taken a stance against the FCC, saying their services won't change. According to the NYTimes, groups such as Public Knowledge, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and individuals such as the New York attorney general have said they plan to challenge this repeal in court.
In regards to Alaskan internet users, we talked to a representative of GCI, Heather Handyside the Senior Director for Corporate Communications. She gave us a statement a few weeks back that said GCI is committed to a free and open internet, we asked her if that promise still stands.
"We absolutely stand by our statement. We are supporters of open internet. We support internet freedom and the concept of net neutrality. We do not block or prevent or in any way discriminate or try to lead our customers to any site. That is not the way we have ever done business."
She said GCI has operated with the concept of net neutrality and an open internet for two decades.
The repeal of this rule gives companies the option for malice, but doesn't necessarily force them to do so. Lawmakers are calling for a federal law to be put into place to avoid the issue reoccurring. Handyside sided with the idea of a federal regulation as well.
"We should have legislation about net neutrality, I think that would satisfy everyone. I think the ISP would be happy with it depending on what the legislation looks like to promote the idea of open and free internet. It is also bad that these orders change with every presidential administration. So if we had legislation in place we wouldn't have to worry about this and have this uncertainty. I think consumers would be a lot happier."