Earlier this morning, a federal appeals court struck down the FCC's rules for Net Neutrality, enacted back in 2010. The rules were intended to prevent a future where media companies and telecoms (like Verizon, the company appealing the FCC's rules) take the business model of cable television and apply it to your internet, with all the tiered, packaged madness that implies.
Here's a hypothetical example: Your YouTube would still be free, but if you wanted to watch more than 20 videos in a week, you'd have to pay a subscription fee to unlock that tier, and if you'd like the resolution on those videos to be slightly higher than "potato," you'd have to pay an even higher fee.
Of course, there is much righteous anger being expressed in response to this decision, but not much of it is being aimed towards the court. Why? Because its really hard to find fault with the ruling. Essentially, the court found that the FCC never had authority to enact or enforce the rules in the first place. Why? Because the FCC, like a large percentage of our government, is about as useful as muppet nipples when it comes to any use of technology that goes beyond sharing .gifs.
See, the FCC had defined broadband internet as an information service, not a common carrier service like, say, phone lines, which nobody fucking uses anymore because not only do people prefer the handheld computers that we still, for some reason, call "mobile phones," but the amount of internet that you can get THROUGH those phone lines will allow a stream roughly comparable to the dust from the tip of Tom Hanks' dick in The Green Mile.
Because of that (fucking stupid) classification, Net Neutrality is currently on the ropes. However, a little sliver of hope exists in that the court, by outlining where the FCC overstepped their authority, have pointed out the FCC does have the authority to impose rules regarding the usage of the internet. The FCC claims they're going to work as hard as they can to correct their mistakes, which hopefully includes a reclassification of broadband internet itself into something closer to "Public Utility," which should help keep the internet a free and open platform for all of its users, not just the corporate ones.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!