MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Imagine having to pay extra for your internet to get in touch with friends and family on Facebook. Or paying extra to stream your favorite show, on sites like Netflix.
On December 14th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could approve a measure to make you pay to view websites. More than 80% of the United States population uses it the internet and many people rely on it.
“There’s no regulation, it’s open it’s neutral,” said Mercer School of Law professor, David Hricik.
Net Neutrality was created by the FCC to allow you to access pretty much anything on the World Wide Web.
“It became a thing in 2015 but it’s kind of like it was there but when the regulators saw that internet service providers, they created a rule that says, no you got to be completely neutral,” said Hricik.
Internet Service Providers (ISP), like Cox, Verizon or AT&T, can’t control what you access, but that could soon change.
“I think what’s going to happen is the FCC will go ahead and eliminate Net Neutrality and we will be in this different world,” said Hricik.
Mercer Law Professor Hricik, says many things could happen. One of those, is your internet bill could start looking like your cable bill. If you want to get on Facebook, you could pay an extra $3.99 or so. If you want to stream on Netflix, apart from your subscription with them, you would pay your internet provider another fee.
“I will look at videos on YouTube in the mornings and just listen to them,” said Hannah Couch, a third year student at Mercer School of Law. She relies on YouTube to help her study.
“If that were taken away from me or I had to pay a substantial amount on a limited law student budget to access YouTube, then that inhibits my education and my review for my final exams,” said Couch.
“What they’re going to do is to allow these private companies who have their own interest to regulate how you and I get access to information and that worries me,” said Hricik.
Hricik says although the plan to repeal Net Neutrality comes from the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, and he does have the swing vote, congress could put an end to it. Hundreds of people are already protesting in hopes to stop the vote on the 14th.
If you would like to learn more or express your concerns, talk to your local representatives about the issue. You can also click here to express your concerns to the FCC.