I think this is something most of us have feared for a long time. A D.C. Court of Appeals ruled against the FCC’s requirement that providers offer equal access to online information, no matter the source.
In other words, everything you decide to check out on the internet is provided to you at the same speed (depending on what your actual internet speeds are) as every other website you might visit.
Well, not anymore. See, what cable providers can now do is throttle (or slow down) the speeds to any particular site that they feel like throttling. But what will probably happen is companies that pay internet providers to give them faster speeds will be given max speeds while companies that don’t pay will be throttled so that anyone visiting those sites will have to deal with much slower loading times.
That or consumers will be charged something like tiered internet packages where (much like cable TV packages) you end up paying more per month to get full access at “max speeds” or pay less and only have “max speeds” provided during specific times or for certain websites.
Say for instance you get your internet through AT&T who strikes a deal to give preferential treatment to Netflix over competitors like Amazon Prime or Hulu. When you go to Netflix you get your max speeds, but when want to use Hulu suddenly you’re throttled down to slower speeds due to the deal AT&T and Netflix struck previously promising Netflix better speeds than the competition.
Heck, there are a ton of nightmare scenarios that could arise from this ruling.
But as Media Matters brilliantly pointed out – neither ABC, CBS or NBC covered this story on their evening newscasts. How is that even possible? A major story, with the potential to impact almost every single American, gets zero coverage from the major media outlets?
Oh, well the answer to that is pretty simple.
As Media Matters also pointed out:
“NBC is owned by Comcast Corporation, which bills itself as the nation’s largest high-speed Internet provider. CBS’ parent company is CBS Corporation, which also owns multiple sports networks and Showtime, while ABC is part of The Walt Disney Company empire, also the owner of ESPN.”
In other words NBC, CBS and ABC all have parent companies that have highly vested interests in net neutrality being struck down.
It’s ridiculous. ”News” entities refusing to report the news because the greedy corporate pricks sitting behind the scenes don’t want the public to know what’s really going on.
But then again, this isn’t really anything new. The moment our “news” became owned by big corporations, and driven by ad revenue, it marked the death of quality news.
While this ruling doesn’t completely kill the hope for net neutrality, it does strike a huge blow for those of us (myself included) who fear what the future of the internet might look with no regulations requiring neutrality.