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As net neutrality repeal nears, West Virginia providers say internet won’t change


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Federal Communications Commission published its repeal of net neutrality rules in the Federal Register on Thursday, meaning the vows of internet service providers in West Virginia to not discriminate against content is one step closer to being put to the test.

Once it’s official, the FCC’s action will reverse its Obama-era 2015 Open Internet Order. That order, among other things, stopped providers from blocking or slowing down access to websites or providing a favorable “fast lane” for other sites.

Net neutrality advocates are concerned that without those regulations in place, internet providers will have too much power over what sites can be accessed and when — meaning internet speed and reliability provided by these companies would no longer be “neutral.”

Telecommunications giants like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T have strongly supported the move, saying the 2015 order stifles investment and innovation. They also argue intentionally slowing or speeding up any web traffic would simply make customers jump to a competitor.

Frontier, West Virginia’s largest internet service provider and often the only option in rural areas of the state, sent a letter to the FCC in July applauding the commission’s proposed repeal, saying the regulations are outdated.

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