Over the past few years I have been fortunate enough to establish a relationship with some smart people who taught me a lot about the importance of sufficient broadband bandwidth and Internet access to underserved communities and the public at large.
Broadband is of course how major telephone and cable companies sell their "high data rate products" for Internet access to the public at large. If you live in a major urban area like I do, you pretty much understand that there is a monopoly on this type of service. In my case it's Comcast. But the same can be said for COX, Verizon and other behemoths in the communications industry.
Most of you reading this are probably not aware that a U.S. Appeals Court struck down FCC rules that apply to net neutrality on Tuesday.
This, my friends, is some truly messed up stuff. A bunch of clueless guys in robes --who probably only use the Internet when they play with their grandchildren-- telling us that we can't have equal access to lawful content on the web "without restrictions or tiered charges." They claim that this will give us more choices. More proof that they do not reside on the same planet with the rest of us.
All you need to know is that Verizon challenged the FCC rules because they claim that it was a case of government overreaching. And of course now that corporations are people they also claim that it (net neutrality) violated their free speech. They won. Those of us who understand that money talks and all else walks in America are not surprised. The little guys never had a chance.
"The ruling is a victory for Verizon and other broadband providers, who saw the FCC rules as government overreach into how they operate their networks.
The largest providers on Tuesday pledged that they would not restrict customers on the web, but consumer advocacy groups worry that Internet network owners may begin charging content providers such as Netflix Inc, Facebook Inc or sports broadcaster ESPN for faster Internet speeds."
The battle might not yet be over. The FCC needs to reclassify some of these broadband providers to get authority over them. (They are not "information service providers"; they are "telecommunication providers".) And there is always the supremes.
Sadly, as is to be expected, the republicans and their friends on the right chose to side with big business over John Q. Public, who just wants to have fast and free Internet access.
"Unless Congress acts, we should stay our hand and refrain from any further attempt to micromanage how broadband providers run their networks," Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said.
Folks, this is just the beginning. If you think that you are paying a high price for Internet and cable access now, just wait and see. You will soon look back on this as the good old days.
Now for some words from "ralph mouth" commenting on Yahoo:
"So another clear sign that the U.S. is being pushed by the 1% away from democratic principles, toward a Corporatocracy where your life will be controlled by a few rich and powerful who use their corporate coffers to buy undo influence in the rules of government to increase their own profits. Thanks to the "Citizens United" S.Court. ruling (by GOP appointed judges) allowing unlimited Corporate election funding on the grounds that Corporations (legal entities) have the same rights as individual citizens, which reversed sixty years of case law regarding corporate influence in the electoral process. Check back in ten years, if voters do nothing, it's only going to get worse. "
Pass me a pitchfork.