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Schumer says net neutrality repeal would hurt consumers, Katko receives death threat

Tom Magnarelli
Sen. Charles Schumer greets Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh in November.

New York State Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said if net neutrality rules are repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, it would benefit only the most powerful and wealthy. The rules require Internet service companies to provide the same service to everyone equally.

FCC Republican Chairman Ajit Pai said net neutrality has slowed investment in expanding broadband infrastructure and other products. Repealing the rules would allow companies like Verizon and Comcast to charge websites like Google and Netflix more for faster streaming. Schumer said that could also hurt consumers.

“You could see your cable bills go up," Schumer said. "They could charge you different amounts for different things now. It’s bad for the average person and bad for the average small business. Whoever doesn’t have the clout will get stuck.”

Central New York Republican Rep. John Katko said he is learning more about the issue and is concerned about the impact it could have on small businesses.

“I was speaking to someone the other day and he was telling me how he pays his bills online and card swipes and everything’s online, he says if they up the rates because they get rid of net neutrality, then it’s a real problem for him and the small businesses, it might hurt them,” Katko said.

A Syracuse man was arrested last week for threatening to kill Katko and his family if Katko did not support net neutrality. The FCC will vote on repealing net neutrality next week.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.