Yesterday the Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no authority within the current legal framework to enforce net neutrality. With the way things are now, your internet service provider (ISP) has the ability to limit your internet speed because of what sites you visit or what data you download.
If you are new to the debate you can catch up here: The Net Neutrality Culture Clash. Also read the The Net Neutrality Culture Clash Rebuttal .
Below is a popular video on YouTube that describes what is at stake if ISPs are allowed to regulate traffic.
Although I don’t think we are halfway to the apocalypse (maybe just a quarter way), the video brings up some of the many concerns people have if nothing is done about this issue.
The court’s decision has been described by some as merely a problem of semantics. Megan Tady of savetheinternet.com suggests that the FCC should push to “reclassify” services like Comcast:
The FCC has found itself in the ridiculous situation of attempting to regulate broadband without the authority to do so unless the agency takes strong and decisive action to “reclassify” the service under the Communications Act. Here’s the deal: under the Bush FCC, the agency decided to classify and treat broadband Internet service providers the same as any Internet applications company like Facebook or Lexis-Nexis, placing broadband providers outside of the legal framework that traditionally applied to the companies that offer two-way communications services. That’s the loophole that let Comcast wiggle out from under the agency’s thumb.
The courts ruling was based on the classification of the companies in relation to the FCC’s jurisdiction. Megan continues:
“By reclassifying broadband, all of these questions about authority will fall away and the FCC can pick up where it left off – protecting the Internet for the public and bridging the digital divide.”
Others see this decision as a positive one, like Mike Masnick at Techdirt.com. He states that:
“This is the right decision. The FCC was clearly going beyond its mandate, as it has no mandate to regulate the internet in this manner.”
As far as the court’s decision to rule the FCC’s enforcement of net neutrality as outside of its umbrella – the courts may be correct. But the problem still remains, with little or no competition, many ISPs have become monopolies. And with the practice of ISPs throttling internet bandwidth, it seems clear to me that that power has gone to their heads. So we give the court’s decision an…
Official Oneupweb Review: Thumbs Up
But don’t be confused. I believe the internet should be free and ISPs should not have the ability to block or slow down traffic based on their standards. If you are interested, savetheinternet.com has a petition that you can sign to help protect net neutrality.
Free Press Policy is the parent organization of savetheinternet.com. Its director, Ben Scott, told the Associated Press:
“Comcast swung an ax at the FCC to protest the BitTorrent order. And they sliced right through the FCC’s arm and plunged the ax into their own back.”
Like Ben, many believe that the courts decision will cause our leaders to take more aggressive steps to enforce net neutrality. How do you feel about this issue? Comment below and join the conversation on net neutrality.