Court's Net Neutrality Ruling Could Hurt Startup Companies
Published January 16th, 2014
GAINESVILLE -- North Central Florida Internet users could eventually have to pay more to use many of their favorite websites after a federal court struck down the government's rules enforcing "net neutrality."
The concept of "net neutrality" has been around since the dawn of the Internet -- it's the belief that all web users should be able to access the same websites regardless of who provides their Internet service.
In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission developed rules to enforce net neutrality, but those rules were struck down by a federal appeals court on Tuesday.
While any potential effects would be years away, legal experts say the ruling means consumers could be required to pay more in the future based on what websites they visit.
"The danger, if we believe the people that are advocates of net neutrality, is that higher charges will be levied for those who suck down and use more broadband, which indeed is a real possibility," said Clay Calvert, Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at UF.
If Tuesday's ruling stands, Calvert says small businesses and Internet-based start-up companies could also be negatively impacted.
"Large vested interests -- the broadband service providers -- may discriminate against those new small start-up companies, and shift traffic and direct it to larger companies in which they have an ownership interest, or some kind of vested stake," said Calvert.
Despite striking down the net neutrality rules, Tuesday's ruling did reaffirm the FCC's ability to regulate Internet service, meaning the government could re-write it's 'net neutrality' regulations using a new legal foundation, ensuring the Internet does remain open.
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