Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine isn’t going to tow the party line concerning net neutrality. Senator Collins is the first Republican to speak out against the party’s dangerous plan to roll back protections for free and open debate and internet censorship.
President Donald Trump’s Federal Communications Commission’s chair, Ajit Pai, announced the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality rules.
The Washington Post stated that doing this “give internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use.” Basically, ending net neutrality would allow internet service providers – companies such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T – the ability to censor which websites their customers could access.
It could also lead to the cost of internet access skyrocketing. A consumer could sign up for internet service for one monthly fee. But if the consumer wants access to streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu, they would need to pay a monthly add-on fee. Same for social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
While most Republicans support the rollback of net neutrality, Senator Collins does not. Her spokesperson, Annie Clark, stated that Senator Collins believes that it would let internet service providers “manage their system in an anti-competitive way that limits consumers’ choices.” Senator Collins also has concerns that the FCC’s decision would limit the spread of broad band internet to rural areas.
Traditionally, Republicans have supported the free market, and allowing consumers to choose where to buy their goods and services. It seems strange, then, that only one Senator Collins has spoken out against a decision that will lead to internet service providers having control of the internet market.