FCC To Bring Class Divisions To Internet Users

December 22, 2010  |  

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday passed controversial new rules to regulate the internet, which will change the way we all engage with online content and services. Although the new rules would disallow service providers to block competitors websites (a good thing), the regulation will enable service providers the ability to charge consumers more to gain access for faster internet.

What can that mean for users? The internet will no longer mean universal access and information delivery can potentially be based on how much you’re willing to pay. This has large and major implications. According to ABC News, ” the rules do allow Internet providers to engage in ‘reasonable network management,’ meaning they can take steps to regulate traffic and congestion over their connections. Critics warn those steps could include implementation of usage-based pricing for accessing the Internet at home and preferential treatment for companies that pay extra for “fast-lanes.” They say service providers could also begin to pick and choose which websites can run faster than others over their networks.”

The internet has always symbolized a window of information to the world. Now, that window will be severely obstructed.

“By creating a “fast lane” that people with deeper pockets can pay for, [the FCC] has effectively created an uneven playing field where more money equates to better service and less money equates to less service, said Marc Aarons, creator and editor of Mobile Broadband Reviews . “On the surface this doesn’t seem all that bad, but consider Congress’ recent decision to allow corporations to donate as much money as they want to political campaigns. The result, as it will be with the internet, is large corporate entities having the most say and voice in public policy.”

Although we can’t lament the idea of paying for a service, many people who can’t or won’t pay those extra dollars will be deprived of information that they may not even notice they’re missing. That may seem trivial but it will play out to the detriment of society in the long run for the benefit of corporate interests. It will be a less informed and less engaged society for sure when restrictions are placed on content consumption in what used to be the world wide web.

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