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Undoing Net Neutrality Could Affect Internet Users In Rural Areas

Plymouth District Library
flickr Creative Commons

The Federal Communication Commission on Thursday overturned its 2015 decision to prevent internet service providers from slowing speeds or charging more for certain content. The vote on net neutrality could affect rural communities.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai — who grew up in Parsons, Kansas — says undoing the regulation may help people in rural areas get better internet access.

But 41 small internet service providers, or ISPs, have said they oppose deregulation. They fear it would give large corporations more power over internet speeds and content.

Chris Owens is president of Hubris Communications, a small ISP in western Kansas. He says this ruling fundamentally changes the internet.

"There would be no Netflix, there would be no voice over IPs," Owens says. "If net neutrality hadn’t existed over the ‘90s we wouldn’t have any of these things now."

A multistate lawsuit is expected to be filed with the aim of preventing the FCC’s decision from taking effect.