If you've been paying attention to our neighbours to the South, you'll have heard that "an appeals court in Washington, D.C. struck down the FCCs rules regarding net neutrality, which are designed to prevent ISPs from giving preferential treatment to certain kinds of data." Basically, the decisions lets ISPS "block and discriminate against customers communications", which in Canada, we are already experiencing.
This decision if it remains unchallenged raises the possibility that large internet service providers could charge certain companies extra for delivering their content to subscribers, and give preference to the content coming from those who are willing pay them a fee, or have cut some other kind of deal. In effect, the democratized nature of the internet would be replaced by a feudal system in which the ability to reach a consumer would be auctioned off to the highest bidder. As a Bloomberg article described it:
Proponents, including Web companies, say regulations are needed to keep Internet-service providers from interfering with rival video and other services. Those companies dont pay today for whats known as last-mile Web content delivery. The FCC has said that without rules, Internet providers could favor wealthier, established players at the expense of startups, squelching innovation.
In a Reddit Ask Me Anything discussion with Josh Levy of Free Press, law professor and former Obama administration advisor Susan Crawford said the impact of the court decision could be significant and that high speed internet access is far too important as an essential infrastructure input to our national economy, and to our civic, social, and personal well-being, to leave it solely to a failed market, with no government oversight or fundamental rules of the road.
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