As if consumers weren't already paying enough, some experts are saying the price of the internet could go up a lot more, especially after this week's vote by the FCC to dismantle net neutrality.
“If you’ve gotten used to saying, hey I’m going to go home tonight and watch a Netflix movie every night, and if you’ve gotten accustomed to that kind of behavior, it is quite likely that behavior might cost more,” said Dr. Nigamanth Sridhar, Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and a Professor of Computer Science at Cleveland State University.
For years, internet service providers like Verizon and AT&T, couldn’t charge more for customers to use a certain website or app. That concept was known as net neutrality and this week it was repealed by the FCC.
“What this ruling allows companies to do is say, that same service provider to say, well if Netflix serves a movie, I’m going to deliver it at 50 megabits per second, if Amazon serves a movie, I’m going to only deliver it at 20 megabits per second, regardless of what you paid for it,” explained Sridhar.
The FCC said the repeal is a good thing for Americans.
“Ultimately I think that the repeal of these regulations will make for better, fast, cheaper internet access for all Americans,” said Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC.
Supporters of the repeal, like Pai, think less internet regulation will be good for innovation and business.
But Nigamanth says repealing net neutrality will make it harder for startups to break into the internet world and may prevent the next Uber or Instagram from even happening.
“Everybody’s going to play a wait and watch game for a little bit to get some more clarity but these are the kinds of issues that people are worried about,” Nigamanth said.
Democrats are pushing for a majority vote in Congress to overturn the FCC’s ruling.
“Net neutrality protected the little user whether it be a small business with great hopes of creating a lot of jobs or a family at home who needs the internet,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D – New York).
The FCC’s ruling will face challenges in both Congress and in the courts. For now, it’s unclear exactly how much or even if at all internet bills will increase.