The Cost Of Connecting

A recent court ruling in D.C. has struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) claim to net neutrality. What is net neutrality? It is the concept that essentially prevents outside parties from interfering with regular Internet usage. The FCC has been fighting to keep net neutrality, but in the last decade, they have been faced with several lawsuits against net neutrality in which the FCC has lost.

Although those there are those who oppose it, most believe that the Internet should not be confined to a small group of providers, and should be a more competitive market. Google is currently trying to do this with its Fiber project, but the speeds Google provides would end up making Google become the sole provider of Internet with almost no protest against it.

However, this loss for the FCC may have created a giant obstacle for the future of open Internt. Verizon made a claim that the FCC could not prevent service providers from throttling Internet traffic. This means that Internet service providers can place different websites into several levels of speed and make the consumer pay for certain websites to get the same priority as the higher speed websites.

It’s almost like upgrading to a pro-version of an app in order to block advertisements, except everyone is used to not having advertisements (not really). All of this is a result of the FCC not classifying Internet as a necessary service, therefore technically allowing the providers to change Internet speeds.

Despite this, with overwhelming opposition to the ruling, it seems that these ISPs may not do anything about it, but if they do, they may suffer serious consequences. One Internet video streaming company has come out strongly against the possibility of ISP policies changing. Netflix warns these companies that it will “vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open internet they are paying their ISP to deliver.”

This is good news for proponents of net neutrality considering this ruling may have ended Net Neutrality. The large support for net neutrality is one of the only things keeping it alive. Although the FCC lost, some speculate that this court decision may have given the FCC the right to change their policies concerning the classification of the Internet. This could allow the FCC to more explicitly define what the Internet is.

Opponents of net neutrality have noticed this and believe that the court ruling was truly a victory for the FCC and not Verizon and the rest of the ISPs. They believe the FCC has the ability to completely change its policies. Until the FCC changes their policies, or if they do, the extra fees for using websites like Netflix or YouTube could become a reality for many in the United States.