The fight to preserve a free and open Internet has been raging for years, but now it’s crunch time.
The big telecom companies have just won a major round in their fight to privatize the Web, and it’s now up to the Federal Communications Commission to reverse the missteps it has made over the past decade, overcome doubts about its political mettle and restore equal access to what was once a thoroughly democratic communications platform, open to all.
Put bluntly: As of now, Net neutrality is dead.
Conceptually, Net neutrality requires that providers treat the Internet as a public utility—and can’t subject users to preferential pricing or access schemes based on the service or platform of subscribers.
But on Tuesday, a federal appeals court in Washington struck down the FCC’s Open Internet Order, the regulatory framework enshrining at least the principle of open access, and said the FCC lacked the authority to enforce the order as it was written. It was a big victory for plaintiff Verizon and, by extension, for all telecommunications companies eager to turn the Internet into a mirror image of cable TV: full of restrictions, limits on consumer choice and toll stations designed to maximize their profits at our expense. And it was a loss for their customers.
The good news is that it can still be revived.
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SOURCE: The Root