A federal appeals court this week struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order, which ensured Internet providers can’t play favorites when it comes to streaming content on their networks.
You might notice some big changes to your streaming capabilities. For instance, Comcast, which is reportedly the nation’s largest high-speed Internet provider, owns NBC. Tuesday’s ruling could mean Comcast customers will stream NBC beautifully, but not CBS, ABC, or Fox.
The D.C. appeals court ruling on Verizon vs. the FCC threw out the anti-discrimination, anti-blocking “net neutrality” rule, which requires that all Internet providers offer equal access to online content regardless of the source.
The Open Internet order banned Internet and mobile providers from blocking legal content or competitive services. The FCC said the order was critical because the “majority of Americans [have] only two wireline broadband choices (many have only one)."
If providers like AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon, Cox can decide what streams through their networks, it could spell disaster for Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. If these services hurt their partners, the parent companies can chose to degrade your ability to stream them.
Despite throwing out neutrality, the ruling doesn't throw out disclosure. Internet service providers (ISP) will still have to tell you why it takes five minutes to start streaming "Sherlock" from Netflix.
According to Media Matters, the failure of America’s biggest broadcast network’s to cover the ruling shows how close the ties are between ISPs and their partners.