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ICYMI- Net Neutrality v. Internet Inequality

Ponte Al Dia
Net Neutrality v. Internet Inequality
Posted at 11:19 | 01/15/14

The freedom of the internet may now be subject to the whims of broadband providers.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals stifled the Federal Communications Commission‘s (FCC) effort to ensure that broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon maintain internet traffic equality, or “net nuetrality.”

The court decided that the same legal arguments that apply to common carriers, like phone companies, do not apply to broadband providers, although the FCC still holds authority to regulate some areas. Judge Laurence Silberman dissented, rejecting the FCC’s authority altogether.

Comcast will not be affected by the ruling in the near future because the company agreed to abide by the FCC’s open internet rules for seven years after it purchased NBCUniversal.

Net neutrality advocates expressed concern that large companies who could afford better service from internet providers would undermine smaller sites, discouraging competition. Others expressed concern that the new model would increase media company’s costs, affecting consumers. The Internet Association, lobbyists for internet companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, released a statement in support of an open internet, “free from government control or discriminatory, anticompetitive actions by gatekeepers.”

Ironically and despite its decision, the court agreed that the FCC’s logic behind net neutrality was legitimate, even if the commission’s legal argument was not.

“Nothing in the record gives any reason to doubt the commission’s determination that broadband providers may be motivated to discriminate against and among edge providers,” Judge David Tatel wrote for the majority decision.

In a statement on Tuesday, the FCC announced that it is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.