FCC to vote on plan that will scrap open internet access rules

CHICAGO -- How you use the internet, and how quickly you're able to access some websites, is cause for concern after the FCC indicates it may repeal so-called net neutrality rules. Those policies mean internet companies can't slow your access to certain sites.

On December 14, the FCC will vote on a plan to rollback net neutrality, which until now, has given a level playing field to everything online—no favorites played.

“It’s going from a freeway to a tollway where the owners of the road get to decide exactly how much we pay to go,” Ed Yohnka, ACLU, said. “And if we are going to a place the owner doesn’t like, they get to slow our car down.”

FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s plan looks to lighten government regulation of the web. Broadband and wireless companies such as Comcast and Verizon like it. They could charge more to access popular sites like Netflix and other streaming services that take up a lot of broadband.

“It’s easy to understand that part of the argument, the problem is, instead of taking a scalpel to try figure out how to do something about those kinds of services in particular, you have situation where you’re taking a sledgehammer approach and just blowing up the whole thing,” Yohnka said.

Critics see that as opening the door to closing off parts of the web.

“What if that decision is being made for ideological or political reasons beyond just the questions of its being made simply got financial reasons?” Yohnka said.

In addition to ACLU, more than 150 tech companies in the country signed a letter to the FCC chairman asking for net neutrality to stay put.

The FCC is taking comments on the issue on its website. For more information on net neutrality or to share an opinion, visit the FCC's website.