Update: Net Neutrality Restrictions Struck Down by U.S. Appeals Court

StewShearerOld

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Jan 5, 2013
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Update: Net Neutrality Restrictions Struck Down by U.S. Appeals Court



The U.S. Appeals Court has ruled that the FCC cannot impose net neutrality rules on broadband internet providers.

In case you haven't heard of net neutrality, it's kind of a big deal. Put in the simplest terms it means that the government and internet service providers must treat all data (i.e. websites) as being equal. For instance, if a provider were to decide that it wanted to charge you a dollar every time you visited Facebook, it would have to charge you a dollar to visit every other website too.

All of this said, net neutrality in the United States took a substantial hit today thanks to <a href=http://www.scribd.com/doc/199616222/DC-Net-Neutrality-ruling>a ruling from the U.S. Appeals Court invalidating current neutrality rules previously upheld by the FCC. According to the court, "the [FCC] has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers." In turn because "the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such" it lacks the authority to impose net neutrality rules on broadband providers.

What this ruling means is that broadband companies like Verizon and Time Warner Cable could potentially start selling special treatment to websites interested in faster loading speeds compared to their competitors. It could also give them the freedom to charge users for entry to specific, popular sites. The court ruling apparently includes a stipulation that broadband providers would need to inform customers which sites are being favored, but it could still be a hit for internet users who may now be left even more <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/130931-Americans-Paying-More-For-Worse-Internet>at the mercy of corporate whims. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said he's still "committed" to upholding previous ideals of net neutrality, but only time will tell if the previous rules will be restored.

Update: Verizon, responding to the Appeals Court ruling, has <a href=http://publicpolicy.verizon.com/blog/entry/verizon-reiterates-its-commitment-to-the-open-internet>issued a statement affirming that "today's decision will not change consumers' ability to access and use the Internet as they do now." That said, the company says that the decision will "allow more room for innovation" and that "consumers [in the future] will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet." The statement also claimed that "Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want. This will not change in light of the court's decision."

Source: <a href=http://gizmodo.com/federal-court-invalidates-net-neutrality-rules-sides-w-1501028467>Gizmodo


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the doom cannon

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Does it bother anyone else that the cables are upside down in that picture?

OT. This is ridiculous. Somebody got paid off
 

Alexander Kirby

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There was a scare like this a few years back when it was thought that internet providers would start charging you subscriptions to each individual site. E.g. you could get broadband packages that allowed you to access to Facebook, Google and Youtube for so much a month.
 

Jadak

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Alexander Kirby said:
There was a scare like this a few years back when it was thought that internet providers would start charging you subscriptions to each individual site. E.g. you could get broadband packages that allowed you to access to Facebook, Google and Youtube for so much a month.
.

That would be my biggest concern with things like this, that we could start to see websites bundles into packages in the same way as cable tv.

Want Facebook? Social networks package.
Want Sports stuff? Sports package.
Want porn? Porn package.

Want just one of those packages? Be prepared to get ripped off relative to getting a deal that includes them all, and just forget trying to get them on an individual site basis for any less than a kidney.

Fortunately, I have faith in the internet being diverse enough and consisting of enough angry nerds that one way or another, it'll continue to work more or less as it has.
 

frobalt

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Another ruling that once again proves that the USA only cares about the companies, not the consumers.
 

Gorrath

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So the FCC does not have the regulatory power to force net neutrality on broadband carriers? Fair enough, but the people sure as hell do. I'm deadly serious when I say that I hope we can harness enough collective, active rage to push greater net neutrality laws through Congress that explicitly forbid carriers from favoring or dis-favoring any website. While I understand some might see this as a lesser issue to many social problems, I view it as nearly on the level with such things as free press or free speech. The internet is perhaps the greatest refuge of free speech and free press left in this world, and is a tool so powerful that the citizens of the world need to ensure that no entity can ever take that great power away from the people. This is not simply a matter of carriers charging extra for popular sites, this is about keeping the net as free and open as possible for everyone. In no way do I feel I'm making a bigger deal of this than is needed, as I don't think the importance of net neutrality can be overstated!
 

CriticalMiss

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the doom cannon said:
Does it bother anyone else that the cables are upside down in that picture?

OT. This is ridiculous. Somebody got paid off
It bothers me more that there is a solitary blue cable, whilst there are two of each of the other colours. What is worse is that it is excluding green cables! So much for cable equality.

I can honestly say I've never heard of net neutrality before, I guess I'm naive enough to have assumed ISPs wouldn't favour some sites over others.
 

XMark

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The current chairman of the FCC (Tom Wheeler) was formerly a lobbyist for the very industries that the FCC is supposed to be regulating. I'm surprised that this obvious conflict of interest and blatant display of government corruption barely got any attention or outrage. Well, this is exactly the sort of BS that we can expect from this.
 

Arnoxthe1

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Interesting.

Well, before we all get up in a tissy, you guys should read this. [http://techliberation.com/2010/02/25/the-5-part-case-against-net-neutrality-regulation-debate-vs-ben-scott-of-free-press/] Remember, there's always two sides to every argument. And a lot of the time, they are both equal in validity.
 

LordLundar

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StewShearer said:
Update: Verizon, responding to the Appeals Court ruling, has <a href=http://publicpolicy.verizon.com/blog/entry/verizon-reiterates-its-commitment-to-the-open-internet>issued a statement affirming that "today's decision will not change consumers' ability to access and use the Internet as they do now." That said, the company says that the decision will "allow more room for innovation" and that "consumers [in the future] will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet." The statement also claimed that "Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want. This will not change in light of the court's decision."
They're lying. They've been waiting for the green light to go nuts with charging schemes (they've been campaigning for exactly this outcome for that explicit purpose) and now they have it. I don't expect this claim to last longer than a month.
 

Orange12345

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Jadak said:
Alexander Kirby said:
There was a scare like this a few years back when it was thought that internet providers would start charging you subscriptions to each individual site. E.g. you could get broadband packages that allowed you to access to Facebook, Google and Youtube for so much a month.
.

That would be my biggest concern with things like this, that we could start to see websites bundles into packages in the same way as cable tv.

Want Facebook? Social networks package.
Want Sports stuff? Sports package.
Want porn? Porn package.

Want just one of those packages? Be prepared to get ripped off relative to getting a deal that includes them all, and just forget trying to get them on an individual site basis for any less than a kidney.

Fortunately, I have faith in the internet being diverse enough and consisting of enough angry nerds that one way or another, it'll continue to work more or less as it has.
my biggest concern is that they will start charging websites for better bandwidth, leading to a situation where sites that don't pay up get subpar service. See Yelp's business model
 

Jimalcoatl

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That said, the company says that the decision will "allow more room for innovation" and that "consumers [in the future] will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet."
Translation: "Now we're going to fuck you over even more, but we're going to give you the choice of where we stick our dick"
 

Pyrian

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CriticalMiss said:
the doom cannon said:
Does it bother anyone else that the cables are upside down in that picture?
It bothers me more that there is a solitary blue cable, whilst there are two of each of the other colours. What is worse is that it is excluding green cables! So much for cable equality.
What gets me is that they've lined up 5 cables against 4 ports. Color won't affect performance and upside down cables can be turned right-side up, but too few ports requires new hardware...
 

Genocidicles

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Orange12345 said:
my biggest concern is that they will start charging websites for better bandwidth, leading to a situation where sites that don't pay up get subpar service. See Yelp's business model
Yep. It would entirely kill off online competition.

Why would anyone order something from an online store that takes an hour to load each page, when they could order it from Amazon in an instant?