On January 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down rules that the FCC adopted to preserve open access to the Internet.
Since the Internet’s inception, the FCC had long established a policy of Internet neutrality to ensure that Internet providers could not use an Internet destination or traffic source as a means to provide unequaled access to Internet users, content, services or applications. In 2010, the FCC formally adopted the Net neutrality policy. But the recent decision to overturn this policy by the Court of Appeals could have far reaching implications for businesses and consumers alike.
To date, the accessibility and openness of the Internet has led to tremendous innovation and prosperity. Some of the largest companies in the world, that were completely unknown, just a few years ago, started with an idea and an Internet connection. The openness of the World Wide Web enabled these companies to innovate, create and deliver viable new products and services – – city to city and continent to continent.
Without Net neutrality, traditional Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon could offer priority access to some companies and not others. Opening the door for these new partnership agreements could create lucrative revenue streams. Content providers with large budgets would be able to pay incremental access fees to have their content delivered more expeditiously, which would put small content providers at a significant disadvantage.
The same goes for online services. The bigger online service providers would be able to afford the access fees, while smaller operations and new start-ups that cannot afford the fees would have a significant competitive disadvantage.
If Net neutrality, open and equal access to the Internet is no longer a cornerstone of the World Wide Web, then the Internet we know and rely upon every day will change significantly. Big business could soon be in the driver’s seat, with a hand in determining who can create, communicate, start a new business, or thrive on the Internet.
Our company was founded with the core belief that broadband Internet should be accessible and flexible to meet the needs of all. Unlike traditional carriers who are active in this debate, we support Net neutrality. We believe in an open Internet, where ideas, people and businesses are able to flourish.
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