Net neutrality vote won’t affect Easton Utilities
FCC repealed earlier ruling on Dec. 14
EASTON — With the recent Federal Communications Commission repeal of net neutrality, Easton Utilities customers reportedly have nothing to worry about.
According to Easton Utilities, the town-owned utilities corporation, “We believe there is nothing our customers should be concerned about regarding this change.”
“In 2015, the FCC supported the concept that all websites on the internet should be treated equally,” Easton Utilities posted in a Dec. 15 Facebook post. “Just yesterday, the FCC reversed this ruling on net neutrality to allow content providers to block, censor content and speed up access to certain sites. Easton Velocity supports a free and open internet. We have not and will not block, slow down or prioritize internet traffic.”
On Dec. 14, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality. According to the Associated Press, net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, which is how the internet has worked since its creation.
But regulators, consumer advocates and internet companies were concerned about what broadband companies could do with their power as the pathway to the internet — blocking or slowing down apps that rival their own services, for example, according to the AP.
The FCC in 2015 approved rules, on a party-line vote, that made sure cable and phone companies don’t manipulate traffic. With them in place, a provider such as Comcast can’t charge Netflix for a faster path to its customers, or block it or slow it down, according to the AP.
According to the AP, big telecom companies hate the stricter regulation that comes with the net neutrality rules and have fought them fiercely in court. They say the regulations can undermine investment in broadband and introduced uncertainty about what were acceptable business practices. There were concerns about potential price regulation, even though the FCC had said it will not set prices for consumer internet service, the AP stated.
Ted L. Book, director of cable and communications for Easton Velocity — Easton Utilities’ cable and internet service — said the decision to repeal net neutrality “has no bearing on Easton Velocity’s day-to-day operations, nor does it impact how our customers access the internet.”
“Easton Velocity provides internet connectivity for our customers at whichever speeds they choose to purchase,” Book wrote in a Friday, Dec. 22, statement.
The FCC decision to repeal net neutrality was harshly criticized by Democrat lawmakers in Congress.
“Equal access to the internet is not only fundamental to individuals, it’s also crucial to our economy. Net neutrality creates a level playing field for all companies to compete and guarantees an open internet for all Americans, not just those who can afford to pay more,” U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said. “This move will stifle competition and put entrenched corporate interests ahead of innovators, small businesses, and American consumers.”