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Court Ruling Could Bring End To Net Neutrality

January 15, 2014, 5:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Court Ruling Could Bring End To Net Neutrality
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Equal and open access to the Internet could become a thing of the past now that net neutrality regulations have been ruled unenforceable. Those regulations put limits on Internet providers.

"The Internet as a pipe, if you think of it like that, all users have the same access to that pipe and the ISP's who control that pipe cannot control who can access what, when and where for different fees," ClickRain president Paul Ten Haken said.

Tuesday's court ruling now gives Internet service providers control over who gets what type of service and how much they'll pay for it.

"Seven years ago, eight years ago, it was a little bigger deal. Today, I think it's less important to most of the broadband providers. So, I see no change certainly in the near term for the consumer on how the products work," SDN Communications CEO Mark Shlanta said.

Critics of lifting the regulations say it could be a very big deal for consumers who could find themselves being charged higher fees for higher demand services, such as streaming video and Internet TV.

"Think of it as Gold, Silver and Bronze package. If you stream a lot of Netflix and you want to get on ESPN.com, Yahoo.com, Hulu, you're going to be a heavy user, so you're going to have to pay more," Ten Haken said.

On the flip side, if you demand less from your Internet provider, you could find yourself also paying less.

"There will be a certain number of consumers who will say ' I'm primarily an e-mail user. I'll take a package that runs on a little different priority across the network,'" Shlanta said.

Any changes that do come from this ruling probably won't be seen for a while as the marketplace digests what this ruling really means. The FCC could also appeal the ruling.

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