The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The internet is dead… and Verizon killed it

The title is not a joke.

If Verizon has its way, a recent ruling by the United States Court of Appeals could give Verizon – and other internet providers like Comcast and AT&T – the power to shut down or restrict access to the internet.  The internet is dead and Verizon killed it.

Just a few weeks ago, on January 14, the federal Court of Appeals struck down a prior ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that had, in the past, been used to protect the neutrality of the internet and the rights of users to freely access any information therein.  The case in question – Verizon Communications Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission – ended with the court striking down the FCC’s protections on the internet.  The FCC had previously ruled that the internet was protected under a “common carrier” rule (a ruling that forces phone companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to treat all calls equally without preference) that prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from slowing down data.

If the ruling stands, ISPs will be able to pick and choose what traffic can travel over their servers, and what their customers’ speeds will be during internet usage.  If a customer wants faster speeds for certain services, it is very likely that they will be forced to pay extra or simply go without.  This ruling destroys what was once a level playing field where a single consumer would get the same treatment as a major corporation.

What will this mean for those affected?

In the beginning, it probably won’t mean much.  Comcast has publically, and rather grudgingly, stated that it will maintain net neutrality until 2018.  They are only upholding net neutrality for another four years due to FCC guidelines that they agreed to during their acquisition of NBC two years ago in 2012.  Other companies not bound by similar guidelines and contracts, such as Verizon and AT&T, may start using the newfound lack of restrictions and adequate guidelines to strip internet services from paying customers as soon as possible.

Services once freely enjoyed on the open internet could, in the near future, disappear include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even the Chatham e-mail service, which is a part of Microsoft Online.   If these services don’t disappear from the ‘net for good, it is also very likely that they will be rolled into packages that ISPs can charge their customers for on top of monthly internet access fees.

Despite the rather bleak outlook for everything but library card catalogues, there is growing resistance to the idea of losing fair access to the internet.  While there is skepticism that online petitions work, there are numerous iterations of petitions currently available, urging the FCC to challenge the decision of the appeals court.  The petition with the current largest number of signatures is hosted on, urging President Obama to take a stance on the issue in favor of the consumer instead of the corporations.  At the time of this writing, the article has over 104000 signatures and is still open for responses from more interested parties.

The internet is dead. Long live the internet.

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