Can fixed broadband providers control what services flow through their networks? Verizon, One of the largest US internet providers is challenging the Open Internet rule adopted in 2010 by the Federal Communications Commission called “Net Neutrality”, which forbids Internet broadband providers from blocking or discriminating against services or content.
Here is some of the dialogue taking place about his debate:
Sohn said that if Verizon has its way, it and other providers like Comcast or AT&T could “play favorites,” by blocking or degrading services such as YouTube or Netflix to promote their own offerings or that of their partners.
“Every user every day benefits from this rule (Net Neutrality) for the services they use, whether it’s YouTube or Twitter or something else,” Sohn told AFP.
But Verizon and its allies argue the FCC lacks authority to interfere with their business, and that Congress never decided these companies were regulated utilities or “common carriers.”
“It is not up to the FCC to decide these issues on its own,” said Verizon lawyer Helgi Walker, arguing the case before the US Court of Appeals in Washington earlier this month.
“It has no implied authority, no express authority…and it’s highly unlikely that Congress would have delegated authority in such a convoluted way.”.
The 2010 Net Neutrality decision only won by a 3-2 vote. It is therefore conceivable that as this new debate heats up, it could possibly be overturned. The ramifications could have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the world.
The European union is already also having it’s own debate. According to the New York Times:
European countries are similarly struggling with whether and how to regulate Internet service. The Netherlands has some wireless regulations in place, and France this year introduced strict anti-discrimination measures. But while European Union officials have voiced support for what is known as net neutrality, a recent proposal gives Internet providers great leeway.