A long tradition of net neutrality in the United States is a dearly held value by many inside and outside the tech industry, but changes may be on the wind according to observers in the US who are citing a recent ruling by an appeals court to allow bandwidth sales companies to throttle customers they see as using too much of the company’s resources. The ruling would change the way that large scale broadband service providers do business and change the Federal Communications Commission’s policy that providers such as Comcast must treat equally all of the internet traffic they carry across their lines. The new decision opens the doors for providers to charge additional fees to offer faster service or greater bandwidth to select customers. Telecom industry companies stand to benefit by being able to exercise greater control over their customer base and potentially offer a more solid service to all customers, but many groups on and off the web see the ruling as a major shift of a core value that internet service providers have been required to uphold up until now.
Since companies will be able to throttle or even out right block their users from certain videos or other services they deem to bandwidth heavy, it could affect the content people are able to access via their providers. This limits the freedom that Americans would have to experience the internet in their own homes and comes as a grave concern to privacy rights advocates who warn the power could be abused in favor of corporate interests in the bottom line.