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<nettime> net neutrality scandal redux
allan siegel on Thu, 16 Jan 2014 22:40:43 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> net neutrality scandal redux


from Media Matters [16.01.14]: "The Wall Street Journal applauded a court decision invalidating the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality regulations, spinning the rules as hampering innovation and benefitting only "the giants of Silicon Valley," despite experts who warned of the damaging impact such a ruling might have on the public's access to online content."

In case this passed you by here is a brief bit of background: "The idea of "net neutrality" is also called "open internet" because it argues that no government or company can regulate the flow of the Internet. Advocates say that if left without regulation, large service providers will give preferential treatment to larger companies that can pay more. Meanwhile, smaller tech companies without deep, corporate pockets, will not be able to compete for premium service." [Reuters, 1/14/14]

You betcha, look who is applauding the decision: "Net neutrality travels under the guise of ordering Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast not to discriminate against content providers. In reality it's a government attempt to dictate how these providers must manage their Internet pipes and how much they can charge companies for using those pipes… This makes no more economic sense than forcing a cable company to charge one price no matter how many channels a consumer subscribes to, or saying a retailer can't charge more for two dresses than for one. It also means less innovation and slower broadband rollout because Internet companies are less sure of their return on investment. [The Wall Street Journal, 1/14/13]

And what will be the outcome? TIM WU: It leaves the Internet in completely uncharted territory. There's never been a situation where providers can block whatever they want. For example, it means AT&T can block people from reaching T-Mobile's customer service site if it wanted. They can do whatever they want. [The Washington Post, 1/14/14]

And that's not all: "The ruling] means that the major providers of high-speed Internet access in the US, who have systematically divided markets and tacitly agreed mostly not to compete with one another, can treat high-speed Internet access like a cable TV service = they can be gatekeepers, charge content providers (any business) for the privilege of reaching us, the subscribers - and, of course, charge us. A lot. for lousy service compared to, say, Stockholm or Seoul." [Reddit.com, 1/14/14]

A classic Orwellian pincer movement; while the NSA is Hoovering data; the telecoms are building dams, toll booths and entrance ramps (and exits) for information highways.


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