The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against FCC Authority to limit the ability of private companies to decide which traffic and websites get priority on the internet. The case formed after Comcast, the nation’s largest ISP, asserted that it could selectively limit the capabilities of certain websites by reducing their ability to broadcast content and limiting the speed at which some internet content providers may function.
Many consumers, businesses and lawyers feel that such power will most obviously be abused– especially in an era when ISPs and their parent or child companies are in competition with other content providers. Such concentrated private power could lead to segmentation in the web resulting from a consumer’s ISP options. For example, certain ISPs could select to slow down a website such as Youtube or force them to pay un-named fees.
This ruling by the US Court of Appeals in DC could also do damage to the Obama Administration’s effort to increase internet access in the US by expanding high-speed Internet Networks.