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An end to net neutrality worries Delaware academics, businesses

Courtesy of courtneyrolf, taken October 26,2012.
Flickr, Creative Commons

Delaware is one of many states planning to sue over the Federal Communications Commission’s decision Thursday to end net neutrality.

Attorney General Matt Denn tweeted he intends to join other state attorneys general in a legal challenge of the repeal.


Under net neutrality, internet service providers like Comcast have to give websites equal access and speed on the internet. Without it, some content could slow down or cost more to receive at a higher speed.

Andrew Groff runs a computer consulting company for small businesses in Delaware. He also teaches at DelTech and says this could affect the First State and its growing tech industry.

"A number of people that I deal with are website designers or content providers," Groff said. "If they are somehow affected by the ability of the public to access their sites, it affects their business and consequently affects mine."

It could also affect the average internet consumer. University of Delaware professor Danilo Yanich, who works in the School of Public Policy and Administration, says it undermines the concept that the internet is a public utility.


"A public utility says 'this is important to us,' like light and power and so forth," Yanich said. "This says it’s not now a utility, which means the argument is it’s not necessary for citizens to function as citizens."

It's not something people would notice immediately, but rather in the medium-term, he said. 

"And the way citizens would find this out is they’re watching Netflix and all of a sudden it buffers, it takes longer to show. It’s not seamless," Yanich said.

Yanich says he’s disappointed, but not surprised by the decision. FCC Chair Ajit Pai has signaled for some time his interest in rolling back the rules.