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Court ruling overturns Net Neutrality, threatens online access, experts warn


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court-strikes-down-fccs-net-neutrality-ruleFox News:

Thanks for watching that YouTube video! That will be 50 cents, please.


Sound unrealistic? It's actually a distinct possibility, after a Federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down an FCC ruling meant to prevent an Internet service provider -- the company you pay for online access -- from prioritizing some website traffic over others.


And because that rule was wiped off the books, those ISPs are suddenly able to do just that. With service providers suddenly able to charge based on the type of content you watch or the sites you visit, it's easy to imagine a system like that of today's cable television market. Want HBO? It's an extra $5. Want our streaming video package, with YouTube, Hulu, TV.com, and more? That's $5 too.


Don't pay and you can't watch. Period.


The so called “net neutrality” rule, put in place by the FCC in 2010, was intended to ensure equal access to all types of content. Regulators and politicians feared a tiered access to premium content or that ISPs might unfairly fast-track access to their own content over competitors.


“A broadband provider like Comcast might limit its end-user subscribers’ ability to access The New York Times website if it wanted to spike traffic to its own news website,” the ruling notes.


But because of a quirk in how the government regulates Internet service providers -- almost a technicality in how the FCC ruling was written -- the court said that the regulatory agency didn't have the legal basis for its own policy.


“Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order,” it noted.


The ruling was the conclusion to a long-running challenge to the law by Verizon Communications. In a statement Tuesday on its public policy blog, the company stressed that it had no plans to institute any form of tiered access program.



Pay to surf?

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A Victory for an Unfettered Internet

After another court loss, the FCC should abandon its 'net neutrality' regulation goal.

Robert McDowell

Jan. 14, 2014


A federal appeals court in Washington slapped the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday for overstepping its legal authority by trying to regulate Internet access. The FCC is now a two-time loser in court in its net-neutrality efforts. Has the government learned its lesson, or will the agency take a third stab at regulating the Internet? The answer to that question will affect the Internet's growth in the 21st century.


The FCC's quest to regulate the Internet began in 2010, when the commission first promulgated rules for net neutrality. The rules, proponents argue, are needed to police Internet "on-ramps" (Internet service providers) ostensibly to ensure that they stay "open." To accomplish this, some want the FCC to subject the Internet to ancient communications laws designed for extinct phone and railroad monopolies.


But the trouble is, nothing needs fixing. The Internet has remained open and accessible without FCC micromanagement since it entered public life in the 1990s. And more regulation could produce harmful results, such as reduced infrastructure investment, stunted innovation, slower speeds and higher prices for consumers. The FCC never bothered to study the impact that such intervention might have on the broadband market before leaping to regulate. Nor did it consider the ample consumer-protection laws that already exist. The government's meddling has been driven more by ideology and a 2008 campaign promise by then-Sen. Barack Obama than by reality.



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Jeffrey Eisenach discusses ins and outs of net neutrality on the Diane Rehm show

This morning, TechPolicyDaily’s own Jeffrey Eisenach appeared on the Diane Rehm Show. The topic of the day was net neutrality, and other participants included Susan Crawford of the Harvard Kennedy School and Ceilia Khng of the Washington Post. The discussion touched on topics including Internet freedom, network quality, and competition in the Internet ecosystem.


Susan Crawford

visiting Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at Harvard's Kennedy School and visiting professor at Harvard Law School; professor at Cardozo Law School; contributor to Bloomberg View and Wired; author of "Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age."
Cecilia Kang

technology reporter, The Washington Post.
Jeffrey Eisenach

director, Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Rashad Robinson

executive director, ColorOfChange.org




What we see in this is the two different world view between The Left & The Right.

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