Future of the Internet: What You Need To Know About Net Neutrality

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - University of Alabama in Huntsville Professor Jeet Gupta watches the net neutrality proceedings closely. The debate focuses on whether internet service providers like Comcast can charge more to content providers like Netflix who need fast speeds to succeed.

It could also open the door for people like you to pay a lot more to get an acceptable internet speed.

Think of it like this, a student at UAH can pay their tuition and graduate in four years. Gupta picks up the metaphor, "Now, there's another student who can pay more, and we tell that student, 'Oh, if you pay tuition to us twice, we'll come up with a special program for you that you can complete the degree in three years.'"

On the other side of the debate streaming on Gupta's computer, he summarizes, "The free-market system says, 'Okay, here are the customers that are willing to pay for the service that they want, and they want to be treated in a premier fashion.' Just like airlines, how I can travel in the economy, I can travel in the first class. So they want to be able to say let the market control it, who is willing to pay for a higher service, and who is not willing to pay for a higher service."

The debate could have dangerous implications for internet users.  It could deepen class lines.

Think about kids just trying to use the internet for homework -- suddenly those who can afford lightning internet have a huge advantage and will be more prepared for a wired-in future.  On the other hand, is it fair to limit cable companies on what they can charge on either end of the service they provide?

That's what's up for grabs with the current free-for-all in the Congressional hearings Gupta watches. You should watch too.

You can also weigh in with your own opinion to help determine the future of the internet.

To express your opinion on net neutrality, you can contact leaders using the following resources:

Federal Communications Commission

You can provide comments to the FCC on this specific issue with the form here.

U.S. House of Representatives

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
(202) 225-0600 - Washington office

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-District 4) - see counties in District 4
(202) 225-4876 - Washington office
(256) 734-6043 - Cullman office
Email link

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-District 5) - see counties in District 5
(202) 225-4801 - Washington office
(256) 551-0190 - Huntsville office
(256) 355-9400 - Decatur office
(256)-718-5155 - Shoals office
Email link

U.S. Senate

Sen. Harry Reid - (D-Nevada)
Senate Majority Leader
(202) 224-3542 - Washington office

Sen. Jeff Sessions
- District includes all of Alabama
(202) 224-4124 - Washington office
(256) 533-0979 - Huntsville office
Email link

Sen. Richard Shelby
- District includes all of Alabama
(202) 224-5744 - Washington office
(256) 772-0460 - Huntsville office
Email link

The White House

President Barack Obama
Comments: (202) 456-1111
Switchboard: (202) 456-1414
Website link
Email link


  • terri

    Apply a student tax so the children can have access geeze public schools have enough to deal with. Like the 911 fee. Slower speeds for adults is diffrent but everyone has no choice about web use….it is no longer a choice.

  • Ammar Naeem

    Yes we have to support net neutrality. ISPs are charging content companies because money makes their shareholders happy. Also because they believe they have the right to do so when a certain content provider (e.g. netflix) takes up the majority of the bandwidth from their datacenters.

    The FCC should be passing rules that favor consumers, not businesses. There is absolutely no positive side to killing net neutrality. It will completely destroy the internet’s usefulness in the long term.

    Here is a rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly about Net Neutrality http://www.vpnranks.com/the-truth-about-net-neutrality-how-it-affects-you/

    Also found a useful video related to it

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