Net neutrality took a punch to the gut this past week when a federal appeals court in Washington struck down the Federal Communication Commission's rules related to how broadband providers manage network traffic. The rules notably prevented providers from discriminating against certain types of traffic. For example, the rules would keep a provider from throttling Netflix speeds in order to promote its own competing streaming video service.
This could potentially create a bit of a Wild West feel on the Internet, with providers charging access fees or priority fees to insure companies like Netflix or Amazon can reach their customers seamlessly. There are a lot of "ifs" here, but mostly we'll have to wait and see what the broadband providers choose to do with their new-found power.
I've talked to people who read about the decision, but then just shrug their shoulders and go on, not giving it a second thought. Other people are plenty upset, leading to comments like CNET reader ajsebas writing, "This is utterly shocking and outrageous."
It could be awhile before end users notice any impact from the ruling. It may be hard to convince the general public to care too much unless it starts to show up in terms of higher prices for Internet-delivered services like streaming video.
If you want to get grounded in what the ruling means for you and why should care, read up CNET's breakdown of why it matters.
The battle for Net neutrality isn't necessarily over. The FCC might appeal the decision, or come up with a new set of regulations that address the basis for the court's ruling. Considering the current state of things, how concerned are you about Net neutrality? Vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.