Watch a tech entrepreneur explain why millions of Americans oppose the FCC's rollback of net neutrality

Michael Fertik: FCC rules change could make your internet at home as expensive and limited as it is on airplanes

From the December 15 edition of MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi:

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ALI VELSHI (HOST): Reactions pouring after the [Federal Communication Commission's (FCC)] controversial move yesterday to roll back net neutrality rules, which require internet service providers to treat all traffic on the internet equally. Opponents are protesting the move saying the rule change is going to hurt consumers and could give internet providers the ability to block or slow down content on the internet. And some are taking action.


We should note, Comcast, the parent company of MSNBC, is one of the country's leading internet service providers and supports the rollback of net neutrality rules. Comcast has said in a statement it's commitment to customers remains the same, the company is not going to block, throttled, or discriminate against lawful content.


The amount of fury around this discussion is of epic proportions. The interesting thing is everybody makes the same argument. Everybody, no matter whether you're for net neutrality or you're against it, the argument is that “my side protects a free and open internet.” Make it clear to me, Michael. What am I supposed to believe?

MICHAEL FERTIK: Epic fury, Ali. There is epic fury you’re exactly right. And it is justified epic fury. We do not know what will happen in the play out of these rules but it is possible that there's a lot of damage coming to the internet, and a lot of damage coming to innovation, in particular. When you go on an airplane, say Southwest or some other airline, and you open up your phone or your browser. You are usually allowed to have a certain, very limited access to the internet for free. Maybe a couple of magazines, a couple of TV shows. Those things are subsidized by the airline or by their content partners. But if you want the access to the whole internet, then you have to pay. So that is what the new change in the FCC rules could bring to your house. You might get a very small flavor of the internet, a very small slice of the internet. For example: just Facebook or just Google for free. But if you want access to the open internet, you might have to pay.

That's sort of my version of -- I think Silicon Valley's version of -- the worst, nightmare scenario. In which the big guys, the big companies, the ones like Google and Facebook that supposedly oppose this net neutrality rule change might actually profit from it. They might be able to pay or subsidize the Comcasts of the world to get a free, small sliver of the internet. That lowers your Comcast bill or your AT&T bill to zero dollars per month, but guess what? You don't get to use the entire internet.


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