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Tomorrow's FCC vote could impact how you pay for and use the Internet

Feb 25, 2015

Credit Flickr user Dennis Skley / Flickr

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote tomorrow on a proposal that could impact the way you use and pay for your Internet.

The debate is around "net neutrality."

Amanda Lotz is an associate professor of Communications Studies at the University of Michigan. She's the author of The Television Will Be Revolutionized, about Netflix and Net Neutrality.

"Net neutrality is a term that was coined to describe the idea that all internet traffic, that all messages should be treated equally, and that no provider could be allowed to discriminate against messages in anyway," Lotz says.

The vote will determine what kind of policy will govern the Internet in the United States, and it could set a basic set of rules, according to Lotz.

Lotz says without net neutrality providers may be able to target specific content distributors and increase costs just for them.

One such distributor is Netflix.

"Without a net neutrality protection it's likely that Netflix costs for operation will increase," she says. "They will have to pay more to get their videos out. And if Netflix's costs increase, then your subscription fee is going to increase," Lotz says.

Mashable offers this video explaining the debate around net neutrality.

Lotz says ideally these issues would be addressed with a legislative act, but there hasn't been a comprehensive bill addressing these larger communication concerns since 1996. Lotz isn't holding her breath.

"We see how difficult any kind of action has been on things that people see as being truly necessary, and this certainly is truly necessary as well, but it's certainly not as much of a hot button issue," Lotz says.