Local experts doubt immediate change under repeal of net neutrality

Posted at 9:28 PM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 23:11:19-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A legal battle over net neutrality may come before users see a major change in internet access, according to local internet law experts.

On Thursday the FCC voted 3-2 to end an Obama-era law that required internet service providers to give equal access to the internet, regardless of its origin or content.

"Internet service providers are smart people and they know that consumers of the internet, particularly young people have expectations to have free access to everything," WMU-Cooley Associate Professor David Tarrien tells FOX 17.

However, some service providers are already experimenting with new business models. T-Mobile recently announced a deal with Netflix that gives free access to certain family plans.

According to Tarrien, without net neutrality, "internet service might start to look like our cable service."

Without net neutrality, there will likely be more deals that favor certain content over others. Additionally, users may have different access depending on what they're willing to pay. However, experts say that doesn't mean internet service providers are now without limitations.

“The FCC’s made clear that it thought the regulations were not necessary for the internet service providers and the Federal Trade Commission would instead be able to monitor and deal with unfair, deceptive business practices," Technology Attorney Jennifer Puplava tells FOX 17. "So, if a cable provider were to say that they’re giving some sort of access and then they’re giving you another, there would be recourse through the FTC.”

Puplava says without net neutrality it's increasingly important that consumers pay extra attention to the actions of internet service providers.

“The key thing, both from a business perspective and from a user perspective is to know what you’re getting with your internet service provider by reading your terms of service because internet service providers still have to tell you what they’re doing. So, if they’re going to be offering different lanes of traffic they will have to tell you that they’re doing that," Puplava says.

Attorneys general across the country have already begun talks of lawsuits against the federal government for this repeal.