When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit effectively struck down net neutrality in the US at beginning of this year, most observers expected the FCC, whose job it is to preserve net neutrality, to intervene. All it has to do is redefine the term ‘common carriers’, used in the 2010 FCC Open Internet Order, to include broadband providers, and net neutrality would be saved.
What the FCC has done instead is to propose new rules that would achieve the exact opposite of net neutrality, allowing companies such as Disney, Google or Netflix to pay internet backbone providers for preferential treatment, allowing their content to be delivered faster to their customers. Bizarre as this turn of events is, perhaps even more strange (mad?) is FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s paradoxical comment that the new rules will ‘ensure the Internet remains open and prevent any practices that threaten it.’
So what gives? Answer: Corruption.
The FCC and its employees are so inextricably tied into the ecosystem of ISP’s, broadband providers, and their lobby groups, that the idea of it being in any way impartial is sick joke. Many have a history of working for ISP’s and carriers such as Comcast, while others expect to advance their careers in these companies once they have left the FCC.