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GRAPHIC: Where Net Neutrality's End Could Be Felt the Most

Data from Esri looks at how changes to the current internet regulatory system will affect Americans

Net Neutrality: What It Is and Why It Matters

The FCC dismantled rules requiring internet service providers to ensure consumers have equal access to all online content.

(Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to end net neutrality rules, which that have prevented internet service providers from playing favorites with websites.

The change won't affect everyone in the United States the same way, according to data compiled by mapping firm Esri. By and large, cities are more likely to be impacted by changes than rural areas, according to the data, though people in Northwest Corridor and Silicon Valley are joined by those in the Great Plains — from the Texas Panhandle to Montana — as more likely to spend at least 10 hours a day online. 

Residents of Hollywood are 15 percent more likely than the national average to have streamed a movie in the last 30 days, lower than plenty of other areas, including most of Washington, D.C., according to the Esri data.

Movie streaming is one of the features of the internet that could be most affected by data caps or partnerships between ISPs and content providers like Netflix, which proponents of net neutrality fear will fundamentally change how the internet is used.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who led the charge against net neutrality, argued that less government regulation, like net neutrality, allows for greater competition in the marketplace. He also said the end of net neutrality will help give rural areas greater access to high-speed internet.

Esri said it analyzed predominant internet connection types, communities' access to high-speed internet and more to determine how changes to the current internet regulatory system will affect Americans.

Dallas appears to be especially susceptible to changes to net neutrality — it contains the zip code with the highest percentage of adults who spend at least 10 hours a day online, and two more in the top 10.

Wall Street in Manhattan appears twice in the top 10, along with zip codes in Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Hartford and Boston.