Columbia, SC (WLTX) - After a 3-2 party-line vote the Federal Communications Commission has opened the gates allowing for changes in how Americans use the internet. The ruling rolls back restrictions that kept broadband internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from blocking, discriminating against and charging websites for priority. In short, the rules meant that all websites, big or small, were treated equally and had the same speed
"Americans will still be able to access the websites they want to visit. They still will be able to enjoy the services that they want to enjoy. There will still be cops on the beat guarding a free and open internet. This is the way things were prior to 2015. This is the way they'll will be once again," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.
Pai voted in favor of the repeal. Meanwhile, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn voted in opposition.
"If past is prologue those very same broadband internet service providers that the majority says you should trust to do right by you will put profits and shareholders returns what is above what is best for you," she said.
In Irmo, small business owner Stephen Miano is afraid this will give internet service providers too much power and thinks the decision will ultimately hurt consumers.
"If you're a small business owner and because you are small you have to pay more for your internet because all of your transactions are run on the internet and you decide that I'm not going to pay that, so now your transactions take longer and it takes your cashiers longer to run those transactions and people are waiting at the lines longer. You have to be aware that that stuff may start evolving," he said. "It's not going to immediately destroy the internet. "We're not going to immediately see your Snapchats billed to your telecommunications plan, (but) with the easing of these restrictions depending on who is at the wheel of these large companies, that internet service providers and such they might be inclined to do so because it increases their profitability."