MINNEAPOLIS – A proposal by the Federal Communications Commission has many internet users up in arms.
The issue is what is commonly called Net Neutrality.
Net Neutrality refers to the belief of many Internet users that the speed of service on the web should be the same for everyone. The FCC has proposed new rules that allow an Internet "fast lane" for Internet Service Providers who pay additional money.
"I think most people are about that the ISP are not going to really provide a level playing field, that part of what they are going to do is slow down the people who are not willing to pay," said Joseph Konstan, University of Minnesota Computer Science Professor.
Konstan said the idea of someone getting better service for something by paying more is a "pretty fair American idea." He pointed out people can pay a fee to ride in HOV lanes on expressways, such as the "sane lane" on I-394.
"I think there is also just this general fear that certain large companies own a lot of different properties," said Konstan. "Comcast, for instance, which is pretty dominant here in the Twin Cities, owns NBC and all of its properties. It would be a pretty scary thing for many people if when I decided I wanted to watch sports, it turned out that all the NBC sports came over Comcast really well, but strangely, ABC, ESPN or CBS sports were jerky and poor quality."
The proposals have come in the wake of a similar FCC Open Internet Order from 2010. That order was struck down by Federal Appeals Courts. A formal FCC vote is expected sometime this summer. A public comment period on the rules ends on July 15.