FCC Internet ruling could impact rural Utahns

A leading advocate for rural America, Dee Davis, says potential FCC rule changes to the Internet could be another blow to those regions of the country still waiting for affordable broadband service. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer/Public News Service.

<span>SALT LAKE CITY – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to vote today on a proposal that could create an Internet fast lane and impact rural areas of Utah and across the U.S. </span>

<span>Basically, the FCC could approve action that would allow Internet service providers to sell faster Internet speeds to businesses that can afford it. </span>

<span>Dee Davis, founder of the Center for Rural Strategies, says while the potential changes are subtle, he fears they would be another blow to areas of the country still waiting for affordable high-speed service.</span>

<span>”Rural communities, who haven’t yet really gotten the full access to the power of the Internet, are going to be left out when these rules shake down,” he explains.</span>

<span>Davis chairs the National Rural Assembly, a coalition of organizations with the goal of building a stronger, more vibrant rural America.</span>

<span>FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has tried to mute criticism, claiming on the agency’s website that there is no turnaround in policy and behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.</span>

<span>Still, Davis is concerned that changes to the rules will give big providers the chance to play favorites.</span>

<span>”What we’re going to see is fewer start-ups, fewer mom-and-pop, rural, untethered, inner-city kinds of organizations being able to make their mark,” he says.</span>

<span>The FCC is set to review proposed changes when it meets today. </span>

<span>Bottom line, Davis says the FCC needs to keep the Internet fair and open – a concept that net neutrality has protected.</span>

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