News / USA

Net Neutrality Debate in US Could Have Global Ripple Effects

FILE - A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw (Reuters)
FILE - A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw (Reuters)

Related Articles

IBM Invests $1B in Cloud Computing

New group focusing on research and development of cloud-based cognitive applications and services for business

FULL TEXT: Obama Speech on NSA Surveillance Reform

Remarks of President Barack Obama on National Security Agency surveillance reforms at the Department of Justice, Jan. 17, 2014

Google Tests 'Smart' Contact Lens that Monitors Blood Sugar

Tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor embedded into soft contact lens material
A decision this week by a U.S. federal appeals court to strike down so-called net neutrality may not only have major ramifications for Internet users in the United States.

It could also have ripple effects overseas.

Experts say the ruling could be a boon to other countries if innovation is hampered in the U.S.

But it could be bad news, too, for Internet users outside the U.S. because other governments could adopt similar rules and regulations.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia struck down a Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) order from 2010, which imposed net neutrality on broadband Internet service providers (ISPs). 

Net neutrality means that ISPs are to provide equal access to all types of Internet content.

The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable” in the U.S.

According to the 2010 FCC order, ISPs “shall not block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.” It also said ISPs “shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.”

The Washington courts ruling said net neutrality was not needed because users “can go to another broadband provider if they want to reach particular edge providers or if their connections to particular edge providers have been degraded.”

Opponents of the ruling say the decision could lead to an Internet that is vastly different from what American surfers are used to today, particularly because ISPs could charge extra for certain content or slow down the content delivery of competitors.

Verizon, one of the larger ISPs, led the challenge to the net neutrality order and welcomed the court ruling.

“One thing is for sure: today’s decision will not change consumers’ ability to access and use the Internet as they do now,” wrote Verizon’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President - Public Policy, Law & Security Randal Mich in a blog post.

“The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet,” he wrote. “Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want. This will not change in light of the court’s decision.”

The court’s decision is not the final word, however.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the commission could appeal the court ruling. Also, the FCC could adopt new rules that would reclassify broadband providers. The U.S. Congress could too get involved and change the 1996 telecommunications law to give the FCC greater regulatory powers over broadband Internet.

What the outcome will mean for U.S. Internet users as well as those outside the country is uncertain.

“This could have several impacts internationally,” said Jennifer Yeh, a policy counsel at Free Press, a Washington-based public interest group which advocates for an open Internet. “Content companies overseas who are trying to reach U..S Internet users may not be able to, if an ISP decides to block them.”

Still, the ruling could be a boon to startups outside the United States.

Andrew McDiarmid, a senior policy analyst for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the lack of net neutrality could deter American innovation as startups could face a tougher time getting to market as “ISPs can cut deals that distort the competitive environment.”

"If innovators or startups here are disincentivized to create new services or applications, that may affect users abroad by limiting supply of new content and innovations," said Yeh. "Or, we could see those same innovators and investment dollars move for better opportunities elsewhere."

The world is watching.

Neelie Kroes, the European Union's commissioner for the digital agenda tweeted “Maybe I shd [should] invite newly disadvantaged US startups to EU, so they have a fair chance.”

Many experts believe the biggest effect of the lack of net neutrality in the U.S. to non-Americans would be the example it sets.

“Other countries may be watching to see how this plays out and may decide to follow suit, which could mean fewer protections for Internet users abroad," said Yeh.

McDiarmid said the ruling will likely ripple across the globe.

“I think it’s a case that the U.S. remains a model for Internet policy for the world,” he said. “Not having it here may make it less likely to have it in other places.”

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mike Clayton from: Arizona
January 18, 2014 11:37 PM
ISP provider competition in many locations is non-existent.
And perhaps the FCC should regulate heavily for net neutrality in all zip codes where there are less than 3 ISP choices with same broadband speed capabilities.
"Former hedge fund manager turned Journalist Andy Kessler has argued this point, stating that the threat of eminent domain against the telcos, instead of new legislation, is the best approach. " from Wiki - that's interesting idea for some zip codes

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid