U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down Net Neutrality

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 15, 2014 in Tech |

Gavel on keyboard

Well damn. Net neutrality has been considered one of the most important policies for the Internet to have. The concept is that the Internet should be a free and open space to encourage competition and allow smaller sites to grow big; therefore, internet service providers (ISPs) must give equal treatment to all websites and traffic, regardless of how big or small they are. ISPs have wanted to offer faster connections that bigger sites must pay for, or section off certain types of websites for an additional fee. Net neutrality argues that a start-up like Amazon may not have been able to fully grow if it had to compete with other websites that could afford to load faster. Unfortunately, that just got thrown out the window.

The FCC had achieved net neutrality (which was in danger of disappearing) in a 2010 order that stated ISPs “shall not block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management” as well as stating that they “shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.” This was stuck down in a U.S. Appeals Court, however, because the FCC classified broadband internet as an information service, unlike phones, which are considered a common carrier service.

It goes without saying that this has huge ramifications, not just in the U.S., but around the world. The FCC plans to consider its options, including appeals, to try and restore net neutrality. Perhaps they’ll try to reclassify the Internet as a common carrier service. Either way, for now, the future of a free and open Internet is in danger.

Source: BGR



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