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Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Any semblance of net neutrality in the United States is as good as dead. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s 2010 order that imposed network neutrality regulations on wireline broadband services. The ruling is a major victory for telecom and cable companies who have fought all net neutrality restrictions vociferously for years.

The original FCC order said that wireline ISPs ”shall not block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management” while also mandating that ISPs “shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.”

In its ruling against the FCC’s rules, the court said that such restrictions are not needed in part because consumers have a choice in which ISP they use.

“Without broadband provider market power, consumers, of course, have options,” the court writes. “They can go to another broadband provider if they want to reach particular edge providers or if their connections to particular edge providers have been degraded.”
More here...
The decision holds tremendous portent for the future of the Internet.

Net neutrality advocates fear that without rules in place, big companies like Netflix, Disney, and ESPN could gain advantage over competitors by paying ISPs to provide preferential treatment to their company's data. For example, YouTube might pay extra so that its videos load faster than Hulu's on the ISP's network.

We've already seen shades of What Could Happen in AT&T's Sponsored Data and Comcast's decision to have the Xfinity TV streaming app for the Xbox 360 not count against Comcast subscribers' data caps.

”We’re disappointed that the court came to this conclusion,” Craig Aaron, president and CEO of digital rights group Free Press, said in a statement. “Its ruling means that Internet users will be pitted against the biggest phone and cable companies—and in the absence of any oversight, these companies can now block and discriminate against their customers’ communications at will.”
Mandatory actions:

1. Pressure on Congress for new legislation. If Congress designates ISPs as "common carriers," the problem will be fixed -- forever. Failing that:

2. Constitutional amendment.

If we do not restore net neutrality, the libertarian billionaires who have bought up our media infrastructure will completely control the information we receive. As simple as that.

This is the reason why the libertarian-controlled Tea Partiers have always opposed net neutrality. They want to control what you think. They want to create a situation in which young people cannot even conceive of a non-libertarian paradigm.
We're the aphids; they're the ants. All they do is look for ways to milk us.

Will there be an outcry, a class action suit? Looks as if in the three hours that Yahoo posted the story there are already thousands of comments.
Judges use this same line of reasoning for allowing credit card companies ridiculously anti-consumer provisions in their credit card adhesion contracts, Judges say, just use a different credit card, even though they are all the same.
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