A federal appeals courts dealt a blow to net-neutrality Tuesday, ruling that the Federal Communications Commission can’t force Comcast and other telecommunications companies to treat all Internet traffic equally on their networks.
The ruling strikes at the heart of “net neutrality,” the principle of keeping web content equally accessible regardless of its provider, origin or destination. Advocates say net neutrality is threatened by the major conglomerates in the telecommunications industry who wish to provide themselves with an advantage by slowing down sites that aren’t associated with their companies and don’t pay a fee for the faster service.
From the New York Times:
The ruling would allow Comcast and other Internet service providers to restrict consumers’ ability to access certain kinds of Internet content, such as video sites like Hulu.com or Google’s YouTube service, or charge certain heavy users of their networks more money for access.
Telecommunication companies argue they have to charge a premium for better quality of service, such as faster connections and larger bandwidth. They also contend that net neutrality will stifle competition and result in higher flat rates for consumers. The FCC is considering applying rules that were written for the old phone system to Internet service providers.
Save the Internet assembled a bipartisan cast of supporters of the equal-access internet in the video below last year.