Blow to Net Neutrality
April 06, 2010
A federal appeals court has ruled against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in their effort to enforce standards amongst internet service providers (ISPs) potentially negating net neutrality and costing customers more money for fewer services.
Net neutrality is the idea that ISPs cannot charge people based on the websites they or how they use their internet connection, as long as it complies with any customer service agreement.
Without net neutrality, ISPs such as Comcast could charge users for visiting specific sites in addition to what subscribers already pay. In essence, it would make the internet a la carte and impose fees for customers to use particular websites.
Net neutrality ensures that you don't have to pay your ISP extra money for visiting Google, or watching videos online, or visiting your favorite websites, or using the internet to make phone calls or really any other use you may have.
This isn't to say that there is an imminent usage fee in the works for doing any of these tasks, but this ruling certainly provides ISPs with the legal backing to do so, as well as restrict the FCC, the only real government watchdog in this field, from making sure that fair practices are followed and that customers are not taken advantage of.
While it is reasonable for ISPs to protect their services and bandwidth from unscrupulous users who may hog resources, these standards should be put in and enforced through the customer service agreement and not in lieu of compromising oversight of the industry.