FCC rules in favor of net neutrality - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FCC rules in favor of net neutrality

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The Federal Communications Commission struck a blow to the nation's big cable companies when it comes to the internet.

The FCC classified internet service providers as utilities and upheld net neutrality - preventing internet "fast lanes" for content providers that pay more.

It's a complex issue but at the moment, it won't have any immediate impact on consumers.

Your internet access will stay the same and you'll still pay more for faster speeds, if you want it.

But it will also prevent your internet provider from playing favorites with certain sites or services or slowing down or blocking sites.

Thursday was a busy workday at the offices of Monday Creations.

These UNI students are trying to get their digital marketing business off the ground at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center in Cedar Falls.

Net neutrality rules favor startups like theirs.

"Just having that freedom and free market system online is huge and it's crucial to us because we don't have the capital that a larger company or corporation would have to be able to pay for that priority. That would essentially put a huge damper on our growth," says COO Cody Caraway.

Think of net neutrality this way - there's a huge highway of information with all of the data.

The big carriers - Amazon, Netflix, Hulu - won't be able to pay for exclusive access to the fast lanes.

They'll have the same access as any thing else.

And internet providers won't be allowed to jam the lanes. They won't be allowed to block access or throttle speeds to favor their own content."

"They promise to keep all data equal so that upstarts like KickStarter and others, their data will get to consumers just as equally and just as fast as the big companies like Netflix," said SmartTech owner Stever Crozier.

Back at UNI, the entrepreneurs say it's a win for the digital community and everyone else.

"Most of the businesses we work with are small to medium size. If we were to have to pay for a spot or have to allocate funds to be able to boost our rankings or get ourselves out there, that would definitely affect us in a negative way," said Caraway.

Several small and large internet providers in Iowa are concerned the FCC is overreaching and addressing a problem that isn't there.

They say the internet has grown and been successful free of regulation.

They're afraid governmental bureaucracy will get in the way and will shift the cost of building network infrastructure to consumers.

Part of the controversy regarding the FCC vote stems from the ruling itself.

The 332-page plan has not been released publicly and only an executive summary has been released.

The nation's cable and telecom companies say they plan a legal challenge to this new law of the web.

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