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Politics

Tenn. researcher says Trump appointment means internet changes ahead

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A mid-state media law experts says a recent appointment by President Donald Trump could mean trouble for Tennessee consumers.

Middle Tennessee State’s Dr. Larry Burriss says the appointment of Ajit Pai as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission may mean slower, more expensive internet service in some cases.

Chairman Pai is an outspoken critic of Net Neutrality - the notion that service providers should give every internet user equal access.

In his first week in office, Pai took a number of regulatory actions that give internet providers greater control over content and access. Dr. Burriss says those changes will have an impact.

“And now the problem may be that there are people who are shut out of the system and not be able to sue the internet. And the internet has turned into something that’s not nice to have, it’s a must have now.”

Burriss says this kind of dramatic regulatory change is typical when there’s a change of party in the White House and Congress. He also says the issue is hard for most consumers to get a handle on.

“It’s a real complicated issue. There are economic factors, and political factors, and human rights factors, and access for this group and that group. It’s one of the most complicated issues around.”

Net neutrality critics say allowing equal access actually means less access because some users cause internet traffic jams moving huge amounts of data.

Dr. Burriss says it will take a few years to learn who’s right. He also believes the issue will eventually be settled, not by regulation, but by the courts.