Net neutrality protests planned in Kansas City, Olathe - KCTV5

Net neutrality protests planned in Kansas City, Olathe

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Technology expert Burton Kelso says the move could affect anyone who uses the internet and could cause chaos in people’s budgets. (CBS) Technology expert Burton Kelso says the move could affect anyone who uses the internet and could cause chaos in people’s budgets. (CBS)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Protesters around the country will be out in full force on Thursday, taking on a confusing topic that affects a majority of the population every day.

Many do not fully understand what net neutrality is, and even more think it can’t affect them.

But experts want internet users to know that it can and it will. They say it could even drastically increase an individual’s internet bill, forcing people to pay extra for services like Netflix.

Technology expert Burton Kelso says the move could affect anyone who uses the internet and could cause chaos in people’s budgets.

“It affects the average internet user because it means more fees,” Kelso said. “If internet companies are able to start charging for even minimal stuff it means that your internet bill is going to skyrocket because not only will you be paying for your internet service, but you will be paying for additional services that you may want to have access to.”

Right now, most websites on the internet are free. If net neutrality goes away, companies can charge people more to access more popular sites. It also could make it hard for start-ups and small businesses to keep up and compete.

Who wins in this scenario? Corporations are in favor of the move as it allows them to gain back the money they’ve lost through the current regulations.

An increasing number of people are saying no to cable and turning to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. The loss of net neutrality would let corporations charge internet users who want to visit those sites.

Corporations also say the existing rules prevent them from offering a wider selection of services at higher and lower price points.

That’s why organizers want to educate people. One protest organizer says it’s more about raising awareness than protesting.

“What we want people to know is that net neutrality is your right to free and open internet and that taxpayers paid for the infrastructure to get it there, so, we have a right to use it,” a protest organizer named Ellen said. “It’s especially going to affect people in small rural towns that don’t have access to big internet providers like AT&T and Comcast. So, if you are in a town where you have a small internet provider and they are going to be asked to charge fees to the people using their services, they aren’t going to be able to afford it.”

But it’s not only about the money.

Kelso says one thing  people don’t realize is that if net neutrality goes away, it allows internet service providers to sell people's information to third party vendors.

“Right now, they have access to your home address, your email address, but if that information gets into the hands of advertisers, then you could see an increase of targeted ads when you browse the internet. You could also see an increase of ads in your inbox,” Kelso said.

Two metro protests will take place on Thursday. Both will be held at Verizon retail locations. One will be held at the 119th Street and Strang Line Road location in Olathe, KS, and the other will be at the store located at 3385 Main Street. The protests begin at 3 p.m. and last until sundown.

Organizers say they chose the location because Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is a former Verizon lawyer.

Protesters are also asking people to reach out to their local congressmen. The vote on the repeal of net neutrality is scheduled for Wednesday.

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