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Dr. Bill Lee teaches Communication Law at the Grady College of Journalism at UGA. Photo Credit to UGA Grady College on Twitter.

UGA Expert Speaks about Net Neutrality

16 February 2017

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump made one promise that is controversial among internet users.

Net neutrality is a convoluted, yet hot topic these days. Bill Lee, a professor in UGA’s Grady College of Journalism explains.

“To its advocates, net neutrality is manna from heaven. To its opponents, it’s retrograde and needs to be put in the dustbin of history.”

Net neutrality is basically the idea that Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, will allow access to all content and applications, regardless of the source and doesn’t favor or block particular products or websites.

So, for example, if you get your internet from AT&T and they have a deal with Netflix where if you stream from that site, it won’t count against your data allowance. That’s called zero rating. Now, under Net Neutrality, ISPs like AT&T, Charter, and Comcast, can’t charge you more for streaming on Hulu rather than on Netflix or HBO.

In his first few days in office, President Donald Trump picked Ajit Pai to head the Federal Communications Commission. Dr. Lee explains how Pai felt about net neutrality.

“Pai dissented. He didn’t dispute the importance of net neutrality concepts, but he felt that those should largely be worked out in the marketplace, rather than through government dictate.”

Other opponents say that de-regulating the internet keeps the internet user-centric and is more responsive to users needs, wants and concerns. People also argue that getting rid of it would encourage private investment and innovation.

If the FCC wants to change their net neutrality policies, it will take paper work, votes, and lots of legwork. Until then, the debate continues.

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