Show of hands, who knows what the term “net neutrality” means?
The exact definition of the term is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”
This rule has stood over Internet providers for years, but that reign may be over.
Internet service providers are no longer required to treat all kinds of Web activity equally, as ordered by a federal appeals court ruling this past Tuesday. This decision could dramatically reshape online access.
The decision overturns key parts of theFederal Communications Commission‘s Net neutrality regulations, which barred Internet providers from restricting speeds or even blocking visits to different sites. Analysts say the ruling could allow Internet providers to slow down sites like bandwidth-heavy Netflix or Google and force them – or their visitors – to pay for faster access.
Verizon, which brought the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, argued that because it built its network, it has the right to manage its costs and services as it pleases.
Judges said although the FCC has oversight of how Internet providers manage traffic, its regulations were overreaching considering the agency classified broadband providers as “information services” companies rather than telecom companies, which “exempts them from treatment as common carriers.”
The tech world blasted the ruling, saying it could turn the free-for-all that is the Internet into an industry more akin to cable television.
Learn more about how this ruling can impact your web surfing here