Net Neutrality News

If you’re spitting-mad about the W3C’s perceived position on DRM, we would all be better served if you re-pointed that anger at what is happening to net neutrality.

If you aren’t familiar with the net neutrality concept, here’s a snippet from Wikipedia:

Net neutrality (also network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.

Think of it this way: If Time Warner wants to prioritize its own movie-on-demand services for home cable internet subscribers, it could make traffic slower for users of Netflix, or for video gamers, or for families looking up cancer information on WebMD. Think if Verizon signs a deal with Sony to prioritize for Sony devices or movies for its FiOS customers.

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia effectively ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) doesn’t have the authority to make internet service providers (ISPs) treat all internet traffic equally. You can read the full decision in this unfortunate PDF at the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit web site.

I think this is bad.

There are lots of bits of news popping up to cover this, most of them explaining why this is bad and linking to resources. I’ll link some below, but as soon as I publish this post it will be out of date as more articles, blog posts, and general rants are bound to come. So you should keep your ear to the ground.

Remember, it’s just a matter of time before that thing you like to do on the Internet is throttled down to painfully slow in favor of that other thing you don’t like on the Internet.

  1. Court Strikes Down FCC Open Internet Order at Free Press.
  2. The Fight to Save Net Neutrality also at Free Press and links to some resources and history.
  3. Court strikes down FCC’s net neutrality rules, agency may appeal at Gigaom.
  4. What you need to know about the court decision that just struck down net neutrality also at Gigaom.
  5. Verizon Victory on Net-Neutrality Rules Seen as Loss for Netflix at Bloomberg Technology.
  6. Court Tosses Rules of Road for Internet at The Wall Street Journal.
  7. Feds Can’t Enforce Net Neutrality: What This Means For You at NPR.
  8. FCC guide to The Open Internet.
  9. Does This Ruling Mean The End of the Internet? Maybe. at The Daily Beast.

Almost exactly two years ago, the Internet managed to coalesce around a goal of defeating SOPA (I wrote about it not just once, but again and again), and it worked. Now we’re in the same boat and people need to speak up.

Update (1:42pm)

This graphic does a good job of capturing what might happen once net neutrality is swept away.

Image showing the base price of a fake company's DSL connection, with add-on pricing for access to groups of web sites, such as streaming sites, news sites, shopping sites, etc.
Found this on the Twitters in @CypherTheDane’s tweet.

Update: January 29, 2014

I have my own opinion on the value of online petitions, but it still doesn’t hurt to try. This one has gotten a lot of traffic from the go-to web pundits: Tell the FCC to protect the open internet.

One Comment


It won't "matter", immediately. But it WILL matter. I wrote about this yesterday (, and actually have written about the REAL issues several times.

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