Wednesday, January 15, 2014

R.I.P. Net Neutrality

Today on January 15, 2014 at 11 am, Net Neutrality kicked the bucket--for now at least.   A federal court struck down FCC regulations designed to prevent broadband Internet service providers from favoring certain Internet services at the expense of rivals.  Essentially, they can now charge more for some services to have access to higher speeds than others, creating "fast lanes" and "slow lanes", and thus making the formerly open Internet more analogous to what cable TV companies do.  And that's not a good thing at all, since a few mega-corporations would be able to afford to use the "fast lanes", while the rest of us get stuck in the "slow lanes", creating yet another unfair advantage for the wealthiest and most powerful among us.  As if they didn't already have enough privileges as it is.  Even the very concept of free speech is at stake as well.

However, all is not lost just yet.  Rest assured that the ruling will be appealed, and also remember that the FCC can simply write new rules that reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would get around the court ruling entirely and enable them to restore our free and open Internet with the stroke of a pen.   Of course, that would put them at loggerheads with the corporate giants who currently control broadband, and these companies have tremendous lobbying power in Washington.  And given the venality of most members of Congress these days, the corporations could still potentially achieve victory at our expense.  Our job as concerned citizens is to prevent that from happening.

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