Tuesday's court decision stripped the agency of any ability to protect Net Neutrality and stop companies from blocking websites and degrading Internet access. In the few days since a consensus has begun to emerge: To protect the open Internet, the agency must reclassify broadband access as a telecommunications service.
The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a potentially lethal blow to net neutrality -- the principle that the Internet should be available equally to anyone who wishes to use it as a medium for creativity and information, regardless of who they are and no matter the size of their checkbooks.
The idea that those companies that run big telecommunications networks shouldn't be able to play favorites is dead, at age 80. First enacted in the 1934 Communications Act, the principle was very simple. Telephone companies shouldn't be able to discriminate among the traffic they carry. The U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit ruling killed it.