This was a surprise. Today the Federal Appeals Court ruled against the FCC, and for Comcast and Verizon and AT&T.......
If you've always loved your cable company, XOXOXO, then have no fear. But....if they have ever pissed you off in your lifetime, GRRRRRR, ...be afraid, very afraid.
Essentially what this ruling "could do" is give them unlimited power over what you see, or not see on the internet..... As well as unlimited power over what they can charge for the privilege (no longer your right) to see what ever it is they choose to show you.....The internet is set become another payola as was the radio.... no matter what station you tune, you hear the same 10 songs, unless of course, you always listened to your local college radio station..... And the reason you hear the same 10 songs, is because those record companies paid the 10 highest fees to the corporate entity overseeing the music selection....
Now do you see where we are headed?
Ever heard of Netflicks?
Of course you have. Dump your stock. They will now be charged between $75- 100 million extra a year, just to have their movies carried by Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T..
Prefer to use Google over the Comcast search engine on the Comcast Site? Expect to pay a premium. Wish to see a video from your children in South Africa? Expect to pay for it.... YouTube? Will now be pay in advance....
At stake is "common carriage". It is a centuries old premise that if someone operates in the public arena, one must allow all the same option to use it. One can't for example, run a ferry and not allow his mother in law to cross, or Ted Cruz... If one is providing a public service, under common carriage principles he must not discriminate between parties....
This was one of the underlying tenants that helped strike down bus segregation in the Old South, the fact that this age long outstanding age old principle was violated.
However... what happened.... was in 2005, the Supreme Court in their "Brand X" decision, decided that broadband (and wireless), was NOT a common carriage entity under existing law... Phones, yes; old cable, yes; but broadband... no... The current court used that decision to say that since broadband was NOT a regulated common carrier provider (even though obviously it is), it did not have to comply with the common carriage principles every other public entity has to follow..... Broadband is not a telecommunications network, it said, and therefore FCC rules DO NOT APPLY.
The 2011 FCC rules being challenged in this court case, essentially state that broadband providers cannot block competing traffic on their network or discriminate against another company's services that ride over its network in order to benefit its own competing services.
Here are the fears.
A. Net neutrality supporters have long worried that a broadband provider, such as Comcast, may purposely slow down traffic from an Internet company, such as Netflix, that uses its network to deliver services. In this case, Comcast could slow down the video streams of Netflix, making it impossible for Comcast broadband customers to use this service, which competes against Comcast's own on-demand video service.
What this portends politically, it that now any broadband carrier can do what ever they want to any website critical of their cable company. Support PIPA, and you get dissed!... (No wonder Democrat Chris Coons uncharacteristically is sucking up to the Cable Industry.) If Christine O'Donnell ($7 million, ka-ching, ka-ching) runs against him again, she will be the only candidate visible in the race, according to the internet.... unless one does "their" bidding. You pay, ... to play.
B. Broadband providers could create tiers of service that would require Internet companies trying to reach their customers over this infrastructure to pay a fee for a certain quality of service. For example, Amazon may pay Verizon to prioritize its traffic to ensure that its streaming services get a better quality of service or so that its Web pages load more quickly. Net neutrality supporters say such a system would relegate smaller Internet companies, which cannot afford to pay for priority service, to a slower and less reliable Internet. These Net neutrality advocates say this will stifle innovation.
C. The court ruling could pave the way for broadband operators and backbone Internet providers, which provide the nationwide infrastructure for the Internet, to create new revenue streams by charging Internet companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Netflix fees for offer priority delivery of their content.
Mozilla responded with this...
"Giving Internet service providers the legal ability to block any service they choose from reaching end users will undermine a once free and unbiased Internet. In order to promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Internet, Mozilla strongly encourages the FCC and Congress to act in all haste to correct this error."
And that is the solution. The FCC can simply with an executive decision redirect broadband and wireless to be categorized back into the public domain, and net neutrality can continue.Or Congress can pass legislation demanding he same.
Or the Supreme Court can overturn the Appeals Court's decision.
It comes down to our rights to free access of knowledge, versus a corporation's right to make unlimited amounts of money. As has been the trend lately, the Court decided the trump suit was to be a corporation's right to make unlimited amounts of money....