The Tide Is Turning?

June 14, 2016

Acquisition of high speed Internet (Broadband) increasingly is understood by government to be “a service that should be equally accessible to all Americans, rather than a luxury that does not need close government supervision.” This is the conclusion one draws from a recent two-to-one decision from a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The decision clears “the way for more rigorous policing of broadband providers and greater protection for web users.” (The New York Times, June 14)

Read more here by copying and pasting this address into your browser: http://nyti.ms/1YpBSWe  (“Court Backs Rules Treating Internet as Utility, Not Luxury”) Published in The New York Times, June 14, 2016.

Also explained in the Huffington Post in an article entitled “Appeals Court Hands Obama Administration Major Win in Net Neutrality Case” (June 14, 2016).

The industry plans to challenge the ruling. The ruling essentially applies to a doctrine known as net neutrality, and “prohibits Internet Service Providers from charging content producers for faster or more reliable service, a practice known as ‘paid prioritization.’ The rules also ban blocking and purposefully slowing the traffic of lawful services, and apply to both mobile and fixed broadband service.” (Huffington Post)

The decision may have little immediate application to Lexington, except to illustrate the shift in government perception of the Internet from being a frill, to seeing the Internet as an essential tool, and consumers as in need of more protection than providers. Under the ruling, Internet Service Providers must allow for “unfettered access” to all content producers. It’s a decision bolstering the idea that you should not have two Internets, one a fast lane, and one a slow lane for all those who do not pay for upgraded access.