AARP AARP States Advocacy

Net Neutrality vs. Internet Fast Lanes in NY – AARP Lays out What’s at Stake for State’s Adults

For Immediate Release
Monday, July 28, 2014

Contact: Chaunda Ball, 917-859-0029, cball@aarp.org
David Irwin, 212-407-3718, dirwin@aarp.org

Net Neutrality vs. Internet Fast Lanes in NY – AARP Lays out What’s at Stake for State’s Adults

AARP Warns Fast Lanes Leave Older New Yorkers at Disadvantage;
Urges FCC to Keep Internet Fair & Equal


New York, NY — “Internet fast lanes” for a fee could leave older New Yorkers in the dust online, warns AARP, as the Federal Communications Commission begins analyzing the more than one million comments filed over the proposal. AARP is weighing in on the debate over Net Neutrality, laying out the potential negative effect “fast lanes” would have on New Yorkers 50+.

The proposal before the FCC to allow Internet providers to request more in payment for faster transmission of Internet content would disadvantage many household Internet users across the state and nation. In comments filed with the FCC last week, AARP said that abandoning net neutrality in favor of Internet fast lanes would jeopardize future innovation and core consumer protections.

In New York, 96 percent of adults access the Internet, with 70 percent using the Internet or email several times a day, according to a recent AARP survey studying the online behavior. Forty-six percent spend between one and three hours online, while 21 percent spend between three and six hours online. Thirteen percent reported spending six to ten hours online.

The survey finds what adult New Yorkers do online is the exact type of behavior that will be impacted by the “fast lanes” and by changes to net neutrality. Sixty-three percent of New York adults reported watching videos on video sharing sites, 67 percent visit and/or engage on social media sites, and 45 percent download music files.

“Access to the Internet should be equal and fair for all New Yorkers,” said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York. “Allowing the creation of “fast lanes” for companies that pay more and “slow lanes” for everyone else could lead to higher prices and fewer choices in online content as the companies pass along the premiums to consumers.”

Under the fast lane alternative, areas such as home automation, medical monitoring, and other services that support aging in place would be less competitive. The rules could change the way the average consumer accesses, creates, or shares online content such as movies, web pages, music, and pictures.

In the comments filed with the FCC, AARP also noted that “the widespread availability of high quality and affordable broadband connections…is enabling new applications and services that are enhancing older American’s quality of life, including new methods of delivering healthcare and support for independent living. Policies to promote a vibrant and competitive Internet ecosystem are essential for the continuation of this success.”

AARP is advocating for the reclassification of broadband service from a Title I service under the Communications Act to a Title II telecommunications service, in order to preserve a system of open access, facilitate broadband adoption and encourage innovation.

The full text of AARP’s filing with the FCC is available on the AARP website. AARP’s response to Net Neutrality.

 

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