The internet money grab has begun.
A three judge federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., has released a ruling that strikes down several key provisions of the FCC’s net neutrality rule.
The net neutrality rule, as written, prohibits broadband providers from blocking any legal content or “unreasonably discriminating” in transmitting “lawful network traffic.” Internet service providers (ISP) are forbidden from giving one traffic source priority over another. Put simply, all providers - and all users - have equal access to network transmission amounts and speeds.
The goal of netrality rules was to keep large providers from monopolizing access. Free speech and access advocates fear that as control is vested in fewer and fewer ‘competitors’ – access will become metered or tiered, so that you must pay to browse websites you used to access for free.
With Comcast’s proposed $45BN takeover of Time-Warner, the remaining few internet providers will pretty much be able to call the shots in setting tariffs and rules for access. And since the FCC’s meager attempts at ‘net neutrality’ have now been struck down – its open season on internet users.
What can you expect?
Many cable users are familiar with Premium Channel Hell where a cable provider parcels out content into myriad channel access packages as a greedy money-grab.
If cable and access providers prevail – your internet access may go the same way. Communications carriers are already planning to carve up the internet into hundreds of premium, paid tollroads.
Want faster Netflix downloads, or smoother iRadio or iTunes streaming? It’s all yours – for a price. A monthly price, that you can be assured will go up, never down. Even fast, reliable email delivery will come at an optional charge.
The Bottom Line
Freedom of Speech is guaranteed in the US Constitution.
Our founders didn’t imagine telegraph, telephone, radio, television, satellite, and internet communication. Each of those technologies have extended speech beyond earshot. They take speech, ideas, and innovation further than Paul Revere could ride by horse. They’ve extended the reach of spoken words, and enabled concepts and ideas to span the globe.
If our forefathers were alive today, it would be hard to imagine them wanting to muzzle and monetize speech no matter how it's delivered.
Unfortunately, the FCC has been ineffectual at preserving the public interest, convenience, and necessity – as required by Part 15, of Federal Communications Act of 1934. Even the US Department of Justice seem unconcerned by the monopolistic takeover of the internet which was borne from government-funded research.
If the US Government is impotent to defend our freedom of speech and communication – who will?
If you enjoy paying more and getting less – don’t do a thing. Internet providers, Congress and the FCC have your back..
However, if you feel that Freedom of Speech means Equal and Neutral Access, please consider speaking out to friends and neighbors – and signing a petition in support of your right to communicate freely.
Speak up while you can.