The New York Times is calling this a "monentous battle over whether the internet should remain free and open", yet this is flying below radar. I'm sharing this to call attention to this battle and encouraging people to weigh in with the FCC and their legislators:
WASHINGTON — In a momentous battle over whether the Web should remain free and open, members of a federal appeals court expressed doubt over a government requirement that Internet service providers treat all traffic equally.
On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission and Verizon, one of the largest Internet service providers, squared off in a two-hour session of oral arguments — three times as long as was scheduled. As Verizon pushed for the authority to manage its own pipes, the government argued that creators of legal content should have equal access to Internet users, lest big players gain an unfair advantage.
But two judges appeared deeply skeptical that the F.C.C. had the authority to regulate the Internet in that manner.
The two jurists, Judge Laurence H. Silberman and Judge David S. Tatel, said that the agency’s anti-discrimination rule — which requires an Internet service provider to give all traffic that travels through its pipes the same priority — illegally imposed rules meant for telephones on the infrastructure of the Web. The F.C.C. itself disallowed the telephone-type regulation a decade ago.
The third judge, Judith W. Rogers, did not ask as many questions but appeared to accept much of the F.C.C.’s position.
Consumers could experience a significant change in the Internet if the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit strikes down the F.C.C.’s requirement, called the Open Internet Order.
I'm not sure if its possible to weigh in on this at this point with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but perhaps a reader here will know if there is a way and share it with everyone. Also, at this point, it is clear legislation is needed to protect Net neutrality, and this will only come with public pressure. That means contacting and pressuring legislators.
This of course has the potential to set a dangerous precedent. There should be a mass boycott of Verizon as well, with folks jumping ship to other providers to send a clear message.
The End of the Internet?We can't let this happen.
Make no mistake: The free-flowing Internet as we know it could very well become history.
What does that mean? It means we could be headed toward a pay-per-view Internet where Web sites have fees. It means we may have to pay a network tax to run voice-over-the-Internet phones, use an advanced search engine, or chat via Instant Messenger. The next generation of inventions will be shut out of the top-tier service level. Meanwhile, the network owners will rake in even greater profits.