You heard about this thing called Net Neutrality. There was a big court decision this week. Is it the beginning of the end or are the journalists just being hysterical?
Here’s what’s happened:The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday struck down some key FCC rules which are regarded as part of the doctorine of “Net Neutrality” — a concept that service providers should run all sorts of traffic over their pipes without discerning between applications.
Service providers, which offer you broadband and charge you a fee, have been challenging these rules in court for years. They are annoyed that Internet companires such as Google and Netflix can stuff as much data down the broadband connection, without paying extra. They believe there should be ways to meter and charge for extra bandwidth consuming.
When I read the news it’s hard to discern whether the Berlin Wall of the Internet is being built or people are freaking out.
You decide. Here is a roundup:
- For context, here is a Wired article about the 2010 FCC rules decided to implement some sort of “Net Neutrality” framework.
- Maggie Reardon, a former colleague of mine, has a nice report on CNET about Tuesday’s ruling. CNET has also published this FAQ.
- The best byline award goes to Harold Furchtgott-Rotth (really!), who writes on Forbes.com about the FCC losing again.
- Bloomberg goes with the “Verizon wins” angle.
- Did somebody win? Did somebody lose? Marvin Ammori, writing for Slate, says it’s cut and dry: Net Neutrality lost.
- Peter Kafka of re/code gets metaphyscial. What is Net Neutrality, anyway? He asks.
What do the markets think? In a simplistic way, this is framed as service providers vs. Internet companies. In theory, service providers now have more power to charge Internet service providers for hogging traffic.
They are reacting accordingly: Verizon (V) is up 2%, AT&T is up 1.3%, Netflix (NFLX) is down 3% and Google is flat.
So in a general sense, the market agrees: This is good for Verizon and bad for Netflix.
And the FCC loses, again.