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What net neutrality means to the average web surfer

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- Changes to the way you use the internet are on the horizon. Earlier this month the Federal Communications Commission voted to scrap net neutrality—equal access to the internet, a requirement that all internet service providers treat web traffic the same.

But internet providers could now control what you search online. Without net neutrality, service providers could interfere by slowing or even blocking your access to certain websites. They can do this by charging companies to send data at faster rates, ultimately making access to certain sites no longer equal online.

“I think the fear is that people are going to have to start paying for the delivery of content,” Elizabeth Bowles, with local ISP Aristotle, said.

Bowles is lobbying Congress for net neutrality legislation.

“Kind of caught in the middle are companies like mine—Aristotle—who are small ISPs. I think the consumers are concerned that they’re also going to get lost in the tug of war,” Bowles added.

But what does this mean for the average web surfer? Companies could charge more for access to websites.

“You see this in other countries. In Argentina, for example, you have to pay to visit certain websites because the internet providers won’t deliver that website unless the consumer or the person who owns the website pays for that,” Bowles said.

That’s why her goal is to get net neutrality passed by Congress, ensuring that it’s protected.

Bowles has been a part of the net neutrality debate for some time now, and says she plans to continue advocating at the FCC until action is taken.

But it’s not one and done. A nationwide legal battle is growing, as more and more state Attorneys General join a lawsuit against the FCC.

So far, Oregon, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Washington are all on board.

Channel 7 asked our Attorney General’s office their stance on the topic. They left us a statement saying, “We will continue to review any and all options and will take the best course of action for all Arkansans.”

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