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New 'Open Internet' Rules Causing Controversy

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Changes could be coming to the way you surf the web with the concept of an internet "fast lane." On a 3-2 vote Thursday the FCC advanced new rules for Internet service providers.

It means companies that deliver content online like Netflix and Hulu would be able to pay internet service providers to have faster streaming to customers.

"it's like the government saying use the sidewalk because it's free, we're going to charge everyone else to use the roads. By the way we're not making the roads any better," said Jake Wietting, a local IT expert.

Streets in front of the Federal Communications Commission headquarters were lined with protestors Thursday over new "open internet" rules. The FCC says they create a level playing field where consumers are free to decide what content they want to access.

"The speed and quality of connection the consumer purchases must be unaffected by what content he or she is using," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Some IT experts describe this deal as the biggest pocketbook gets the fattest pipeline and the fastest speeds leaving start up companies at a disadvantage.

"Those companies can't pay. Then companies like Google and Amazon will say we can pay so our streaming services are going to win out," added Wietting.

Those costs could be passed on to customers. Some predict down the road you could end up paying your internet provider more for what you want to use.

"There could be plans where Mediacom could set up and say you get Netflix and Hulu plus 20 gigabytes of data for this much money and you'll get those packages faster than everything else," said Sam Burkhead, a technician at Computer Revolution in Moline.

He says he thinks net neutrality is a good thing but that Internet service providers should be re-classified as utilities, with similar governmental oversight. The proposal is now in a public comments phase which ends July 15th. A formal FCC vote will likely take place this summer.

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