Net neutrality supporters protest repeal in front of Cedar Rapids Verizon dealer

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Next week the Federal Communications Commission will decide on a key issue that could impact how you access Netflix, Facebook, or any website. Commissioners are poised to repeal what's called "net neutrality"-- rules the Obama Administration put in place.

Protestors gathered at Collins and First Avenue in Cedar Rapids, Thursday, standing in chilly temps along the road in front of a local Verizon Wireless shop for about an hour.

Protestors gathered at Collins and First Avenue in Cedar Rapids, Thursday, standing in chilly temps along the road in front of a local Verizon Wireless shop for about an hour.

The net neutrality supporters believe the rules prevent internet service providers from gaining too much power and finding new ways to charge consumers. Protestors worried elimination of the regulations would allow providers to restrict web pages users have access to, how fast pages load or how people receive content like digital movies.

"It affects truly everybody that uses the internet," said Doug McVicar, an organizer of the rally. "It's not a left versus right or Republican vs Democrat issue. If you use the internet, this affects you."

On the flip side, those in favor of repeal believe net neutrality rules are stifling innovation. That includes the chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, a President Donald Trump appointee.

Pai has said he feels the internet shouldn't be regulated like a water or electric utility.

He's not alone. Republican Senator Joni Ernst, Iowa, is also in support of the repeal.

"If you look back, the internet exploded with different ideas and various types of innovation," said Ernst. "Then, once those regulations were put out there, we saw innovation really come to a screeching halt."

The big FCC vote is December 14th. Though the commission is expected to approve the repeal, comments from the public play a factor in its decision.