Survey: IT workers worried about US net neutrality repeal

More than eight in 10 US IT workers surveyed support the net neutrality rules

More than eight in 10 U.S. IT workers support the nation's net neutrality regulations, and many are worried that President Donald Trump administration's likely repeal of the rules will hurt their industry.

Eighty-two percent of 411 IT workers responding to an online survey by Spiceworks support the net neutrality rules, while just 11 percent oppose them, the company said Wednesday. If the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules are repealed, 59 percent of respondents said they believe their companies' internet costs will rise, and 47 percent said they believe their companies' access to important internet services will be degraded.

If the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules are repealed, 59 percent of respondents said they believe their companies' internet costs will rise, and 47 percent said they believe their companies' access to important internet services will be degraded.

IT workers debating net neutrality on the Spiceworks website "care deeply about the subject, with one side arguing government regulation of the internet is unnecessary and counterproductive, while others fear potential deregulation of net neutrality could put companies at the mercy of ISPs," Peter Tsai, an IT analyst at Spiceworks, wrote in a blog post

Forty-five percent of respondents say they expect upload or download speeds to get slower if the rules are scrapped.

"A website belonging to a small business might be given less priority than a website belonging to a more established company with deeper pockets," Tsai wrote. 

More than eight in 10 respondents said they were concerned that a repeal of the net neutrality rules would allow broadband providers to slow certain types of content and to block access to some content. Eighty-three percent said that without the rules, governments or corporations could take actions to limit free speech.

"ISPs might choose to charge more for high-speed access to common data-intensive services like Netflix and throttle speeds for those who don’t pay the high-speed access fee," Tsai wrote. "Or ISPs might pick favorites among companies they have partnerships with, while throttling their competitors’ services."

During last year's presidential campaign, Trump criticized the net neutrality rules, saying it was a "top-down power grab" that would apparently require broadband providers to give equal time to liberal and conservative media. 

On Monday, Trump appointed FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a fierce critic of the net neutrality rules, as the agency's chairman.

Just 19 percent of the IT workers surveyed said they expect no negative impact on their companies if the net neutrality regulations are repealed.

Respondents to the survey represented a variety of company sizes and came from industries including manufacturing, healthcare, nonprofits, education, government, and finance, said Spiceworks, a provider of help desk and network management software. The survey was done this month.

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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