The Internet as we know it died last week. You may not have noticed- and that's not surprising, since the news delivery in this country is largely controlled by the beneficiaries of this homicide.
The shorthand for this demise is Verizon v. FCC. It's not final and non-appealable yet, but really. You think five Supremes are going to overturn something that's good for
General Motors General Communications? The essence is this: until last week, there was an enforceable concept of "net neutrality" across the bandwidthy plain. Your provider couldn't pick and choose which sites it wanted to speed up or slow down. But now, the Information Superhighway has its first authority to install toll booths.
A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the FCC's net neutrality rules were enacted without proper authority. In the words of one neutral-friendly site:
On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order. In its decision, the court said that the FCC lacked the authority to implement and enforce its rules under the legal framework the agency put forth.
The FCC’s 2010 order was intended to prevent broadband Internet access providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on the Web. Instead of reversing a Bush-era FCC decision that weakened the FCC’s authority over broadband, and establishing solid legal footing for its rules, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski pushed for rules under the complicated legal framework the court rejected today.
So now, the Comcasts and Time Warners of the world have the right to pick and choose who and what gets through their respective series of tubes. They can contract with Hulu to speed up their content, while slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowing down Netflix streams if they don't play along with the provider's financial demands. And if they can pick and choose on the basis of finances, it's just a matter of time before they can pick and choose on the basis of what content they may or may not li
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