If you use the Internet or are one of the many rural residents who hope to get the Internet, December 14 was a big day. Under a plan proposed by Anjit Pai, President Trump’s choice for chairman, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 to dismantle Net Neutrality, the open Internet principles that more than 80 percent of Americans support. FCC Commissioners also voted along party lines to eliminate Internet as a utility, or Title II service. That will result in a loss in universal service requirements and consumer protections.
What does this mean for rural parts of the country that are still struggling to get high speed Internet services? We asked Whitney Kimball Coe, a young woman raising a family in Athens, TN, a small town south of Knoxville. She also coordinates the National Rural Assembly and is director of national programs for the Center for Rural Strategies. For our report, she adapted an editorial she wrote for the Daily Post Athenian in which she relates her concerns about the impact the FCC changes will have on rural communities such as those in our WMMT listening area.