A recent court ruling is great news. That is if you aren’t a major telecommunications conglomerate, which we’re assuming you’re not.
Over the last few years, net neutrality became a real contention point between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and telecom companies. The conflict has stemmed from broadband providers (like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, ect) not wanting to adhere with FCC’s rules regarding net neutrality. When the FCC introduced its 400 page net neutrality manifesto last year, many broadband providers felt the FCC had officially overstepped their bounds and took their new rules to court.
Considering the court’s sketchy history with shooting down net neutrality provisions, many proponents of the FCC’s new bylaws were wary. Both times in 2010 and 2014, the courts fell on the side of telecom companies’ interests when it came to upholding net neutrality standards. Considering the FCC’s standards were stricter this time around, it was all but assumed that the courts would find the new net neutrality provisions overreaching.
Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case.
The DC Circuit Court, which published its ruling yesterday, had actually sided with the FCC and net neutrality advocates in creating strong regulations for broadband Internet access. To take a phrase from Donald Trump’s dictionary, this is a “YUGE” win for anyone that uses the Internet and that isn’t a telecom company.
So basically everyone.
To understand how important net neutrality is, you should go and read our 10-Point Expert on it here (Just a Quick Note: Tom Wheeler and the FCC actually back tougher net neutrality rules now thanks to public shaming and this Last Week Tonight segment). Basic idea of net neutrality revolves Internet access – most importantly the access to all of its data – should be treated the same. That means a company like Comcast shouldn’t be able to discriminate user’s access to the Internet.
Generally this idea is what helped spur the “Information Boom” in the last 20 or so years, with many proponents of net neutrality saying innovative companies like Google or Facebook wouldn’t be possible without the values of net neutrality. Of course, this goes against a broadband provider’s instinct of wanting to monopolize their services in order to get maximum profit.
With the new court ruling there is now potential for the FCC’s new rules to be extended if they are strongly enforced. If that’s the case, access to the Internet could be perceived as a “public good” over time, which would make net neutrality a cornerstone in broadband policy. That would be a win for everyone.
Well, once again, everyone except telecom companies.
(Photo Credit: Pixabay.com)