As hard as it is to believe that such a fight could even exist, it looks like the courts are beginning to side with the likes of Verizon in the belief that ISPs should have the right to discriminate against websites. Net neutrality, a simple principle that states that the Internet should be "open" is at risk of becoming a moot point, nothing more than a pipe dream.
On Monday, two out of the three judges on the panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals believe that the Federal Communications Commission, a major backer of net neutrality, lacks the ability to tell ISPs like Verizon that they can't pick and choose which sites are allowed to be delivered, or be unable to charge premiums to certain companies to have their content delivered.
This is all sorts of wrong, of course. As an ISP subscriber, no consumer expects to run into roadblocks when trying to access materials online - especially not in civilized countries. But companies like Verizon would love nothing more than to be able to charge other companies for the privilege of using their networks. Netflix is a great example of a company in the crosshairs of companies like Verizon. Clearly, Netflix can be a bandwidth-heavy service, and companies like Verizon don't appreciate the large usage of their networks without some compensation.
As a consumer, that idea is beyond appalling. Quite simply, it shouldn't matter what kind of content is being delivered. If there's a bandwidth cap, that should be the lone limit. If you don't have a bandwidth cap, then that's what you're paying for - nothing should be restricted.
If a company like Verizon were able to charge a company like Netflix to deliver its content, then that in effect allows Verizon to earn revenue on someone else's content. Imagine a site like HotHardware having to pay a company like Verizon so that you can read it. The entire premise is beyond silly, and it's highly depressing that the aforementioned judges seem oblivious to the expected rights of consumers.
If this ever came to pass, and Verizon did opt to begin charging other companies, it'd be my hope that it'd do nothing but hurt Verizon's business. Those ISPs that don't go against net neutrality would be attractive to those who appreciate it.
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