Craig Aaron, Reader Supported News, January 15, 2014– Three judges in D.C. just killed Net Neutrality.
This could be the end of the Internet as we know it. But it doesn’t have to be.
The big news: A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. This decision means that companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon – which brought the lawsuit – are now free to block or slow down any website, application or service they like.
These companies will rush to change the Web and line their own pockets at our expense – creating new tolls for app makers, expensive price tiers for popular sites, and fast lanes open only to the few content providers that can afford them.
It didn’t have to be this way.
The FCC’s rules were designed to prevent Internet service providers from blocking or interfering with Web traffic. Instead of reversing a Bush-era decision that weakened the FCC’s authority over broadband, and establishing solid legal footing, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued the rules in 2010 under the complicated and shaky legal framework the court rejected today.
The rules the court struck down left much to be desired, but they were a step toward preserving Internet users’ freedom to go wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted.
Now, just as Verizon promised it would in court, the biggest broadband providers will race to turn the open and vibrant Web into something that looks like cable TV – where they pick and choose the channels for you. They’ll establish fast lanes for the few giant companies that can afford to pay exorbitant tolls and reserve the slow lanes for everyone else.
We could pay dearly for the previous FCC’s weak political will and wishy-washy approach. But today’s ruling leaves the door wide open to a better approach. It’s not too late for the FCC to reverse its terrible decisions and repair its doomed strategy.
That’s right. The FCC could make all this go away by simply reading the law correctly and reclaiming the authority it already has to protect Internet users for good. The agency had clear authority before the Bush administration abdicated it and the Obama administration failed to fix the mistake.
New FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently stated that the FCC must be able to protect broadband users and preserve the Internet’s fundamental open architecture. Now he has no other choice but to restore and reassert the FCC’s clear authority over our nation’s communications infrastructure….
Together we can fight back against these greedy Internet service providers. We can save the Internet we love. But we have to act now.
Read More: RSN