Open Internet advocates all over the nation today were saddened to learn that D.C. District Court of Appeals sided with Verizon in its fight with the FCC over the Commission’s net neutrality rules. While the FCC can still appeal to the Supreme Court, many are concerned that the Commission won’t even bother. The Obama administration is now strongly hinting that won’t be the case.
The White House issued a statement today in regards to the appeals court ruling that struck down the net neutrality rules. While the administration would not comment on an appeal, it said that the President “remains committed to an open Internet.”
Here’s the full statement:
“President Obama remains committed to an open internet, where consumers are free to choose the websites they want to visit and the online services they want to use, and where online innovators are allowed to compete on a level playing field based on the quality of their products. As we continue to review the ruling, we remain committed to working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Congress, and the private sector to preserve a free and open Internet.”
Interestingly enough, the Obama administration may have found itself an ally in the most unlikely of companies – Time Warner Cable. It’s kind of ironic that the second most hated ISP in America is fully supportive of an open Internet, or at leas that’s what the company claims in a statement released today:
“Since pioneering the development of high-speed broadband service in the late 1990s, Time Warner Cable has been committed to providing its customers the best service possible, including unfettered access to the web content and services of their choice. This commitment, which long precedes the FCC rules, will not be affected by today’s court decision.”
While that may be true, a little bit of wordplay could lead us to a future where Time Warner Cable institutes something like AT&T’s sponsored data. It technically doesn’t run afoul of the FCC’s original net neutrality rules and it would allow them to claim to still support an open Internet. Unfortunately, it would also allow TWC or any other ISP to institute data caps while letting content providers pay to deliver data to consumers without contributing to the cap.
In short, the open Internet might not be threatened by a lack of net neutrality rules. It’s just going to be exploited until there’s nothing left.