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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What America Thinks: Leave My Internet Service Alone

“Net neutrality” is a term that has been tossed around a lot lately, but very few actually know what it is. In short, it deals with whether the federal government or private cable and internet providers should have regulatory control over the internet and its content—government control versus free market competition. We decided to find out what America thinks.

Currently, the internet is wide open; it is a free market where providers can set prices competitively for access, but all internet content is treated equally. Most Americans want the internet to remain this way. Just 26% think The Federal Communications Commission should regulate it like radio or television.

Net neutrality is a multifaceted issue. On the one hand, there’s concern that FCC control of the Internet would allow the federal government to play favorites with web sites. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans are at least somewhat concerned that if the FCC does gain regulatory control over the Internet it will lead to government efforts to control online content or promote a political agenda.

On the other hand, some argue that without federal regulation, cable providers can essentially do the same thing, potentially leading to a two-tier system where those who can pay more will get more, and those who can’t gain less access as a consumer or less exposure as a business.

Overall, though, Americans still believe free market competition is the best way to protect internet users rather than more government regulation. The internet is still a relatively new form of media, so consumers, businesses and government alike are trying to navigate new ways to control and regulate it and, as with everything, there are many sides to this issue.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.