Political Discussion: Internet Neutrality Is Dead!

Or at least it's down for the count. A Federal Appeals Court ruled yesterday (Tuesday, 1/14/13) that FCC rules promoting internet neutrality are "overreaching." This is will have the greatest effect on users of Internet TV, since we use a disproportionate share of bandwidth.

The ruling apparantly resulted from the fact the FCC puts Internet Service Providers in a different category from other telecommunications services. There is unlikely to be an immediate effect on your bill, but as of now, an ISP can legally charge you more for services they don't like, such as bit torrent, YouTube, and video feeds from off shore which often contain copyrighted U.S. programming. They don't need any particular reason for preferring one feed over another. They can set prices however they like.

The FCC is reviewing its options, which includes an appeal to the Supreme Court and restructuring its regulations. Waiting for Congress to step in with new law seems doomed from the start. If ever there was a time for you to call, email and write letters to the FCC and your elected representatives, this is it! :usa2:

Net neutrality is dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, your overlords - latimes.com

Court ruling overturns Net Neutrality, threatens online access, experts warn | Fox News

Yup, its only a matter of time before we start seeing itemized additions to our Broadband bills from the likes of Comcast, Verizon, etc for going to streaming sites. Whether it be YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, etc. If anything, the larger players in the field will pay to have a slight discount to letting consumers visit/ view on their websites compared to the smaller folks, etc! This debate has been ongoing for a while now though, so will be interested to see where we sit in about 5 years!
As an example of how this ruling affects free enterprise, it could be very damaging to Aereo, which provides OTA content in a few large markets via peer to peer streaming. Aereo has been winning the right to do this in court cases which will wind up before the Supreme Court in April. But the cable companies who are fighting Aereo are also the primary broadband providers in many markets. Since they now have the right to charge Aereo whatever they like, the Supreme Court decision could be moot.

As a conservative, I'm generally in favor of limiting government, but that doesn't mean no government restrictions on the private sector at all. I want to see simple, understandable regulations that restrict private enterprise as well as restrict the size of government, which may seem like a contradiction. But there are solutions on nearly every front that accomplish both ends, leaving the money and power in the hands of individual consumers. Therefore those solutions are seen as "unfair" by the mega money players -- big government and big corporations.

"Internet neutrality" is a simple, easy to understand regulation that requires very few tax dollars to enforce. It might not even be necessary if government had allowed real competition in the cable industry from its inception, but that's water over the dam. The court left a path open for the FCC to reinstate neutrality by reclassifying the internet as a telecommunications service -- which is exactly what it has become since the initial classification in 2002 as an "information service." I'm in favor of internet neutrality,



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