The Federal Communications Commission has ordered Obama-era net neutrality rules to end April 23. That essentially opens the door for internet service providers to treat certain content differently. That has technology companies raising the alarm.
SeeClickFix, a New Haven-based civic technology company that allows citizens to report non-emergency issues to local government, was built on the open internet. The company's CEO, Ben Berkowitz, said the internet is what enabled companies like his to compete and change the way business is done - sometimes at the expense of larger companies. “But very much for the benefit of consumers -- increased competition, rapid disruption, and change,” Berkowitz said. “All the benefit that we’ve gotten from the internet that has made life easier. Potentially that changes without net neutrality and that matters to all of us.” U.S. Senate Democrats are fighting to overturn the FCC’s decision. Senator Richard Blumenthal launched his Connecticut campaign to save net neutrality at the offices of SeeClickFix. He said so far they have the support of all the Democrats and one Republican. “We now have 50 senators,” he said. “We need one more vote. One more vote is a national campaign to keep the internet open with net neutrality. And all we need is one more Republican to join us and we have a number in mind who have expressed interest.” If Democrats win a majority in the Senate, a repeal would also require winning a vote in the House of Representatives. This report comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies, including Rhode Island Public Radio, joining together to tell stories of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.