FCC to vote on net neutrality regulations

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) –  Carbon Five is one of several businesses focused on technology with an office inside the Edney Innovation Center in Chattanooga.

“We work on a lot of different software projects for companies across the country, all web or mobile projects,” Carbon Five General Manager Alex Cruikshank said.

The guys who were in Carbon Five’s Chattanooga office on Wednesday were well aware that the net neutrality rules could be going away.

The Federal Communications Commission will be voting to repeal the rules and that has led to concerns over how small businesses might be impacted.

“Start-ups are dependent usually on venture capital and there might be a chill in the venture capital community.  They might be a little less willing to invest, like internet startups, if they’re afraid that they might get bottle necked by a service provider somewhere down the line,” Cruikshank said.

Net neutrality rules create an environment where all content on the web is treated equally.

A flip in the regulations could mean that internet service providers gain more control over internet speeds and how fast it takes to access certain websites.

“So you have two different possibilities.  One is that they start charging businesses more to get faster lanes to their site.  The other is they start charging consumers more and say if you want to go to certain sites as fast as you can we’re going to charge you more.  Neither of those work for Chattanoogans.  We’ve seen the power of having a free and open internet and we want to keep that going,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said.

Chattanooga is often referred to as “gig city” because of the fast internet speeds the city provides.

The dismantling of net neutrality rules could impact start-up businesses that come to the city for fast internet.

“Given that many of our internet companies are ones that are smaller and trying to grow we want to see everybody to be on the same playing field,” Mayor Berke said.

As for Cruikshank, who is also a programmer, he said his primary concern is it might reduce innovation on the internet.

The FCC Commission is set to vote on Thursday.


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