A recent decision by a US Appeals court ended the regulation of the internet as we know it. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was deemed to have created a framework for ensuring the concept of “net neutrality” out-with the remit for the organisation it created itself. Now, a former FCC chairman has called for a “nuclear option” to reclassify Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as common carriers.
Doing so would force ISPs to be treated more like public utilities and subject them to FCC regulations over issues such as rate setting and universal service obligations. There has already been a lot of commentary and speculation about what the ruling means for the average user, and I don’t want to add to the hyperbole all ready out there, but I think it is important to clarify a few things.
Net neutrality, or the end of it, has the potential to bring about the end of the internet as we know it. In a practical sense, it opens the doors for companies to manage the traffic across the network as they see most profitable, which means these companies can take measures that not only affect content creators, but end users. The ruling overturns the 20 years of treating the internet as a ‘dumb’ network that processed packets of information without prioritising them.
Phi Beta Iota:It is possible that the destructive behavior of the USA (not just the Court, but NSA and Google and Microsoft and IBM and Oracle and CISCO as well) is a perfect enabler for creating the Autonomous Internet made affordable, inter-operable, and scalable by Open Source Everything including OpenBTS and Open Spectrum.