intWhen AT&T announced their Sponsored Data program, many were wondering how it might affect net neutrality. In fact the FCC announced that they would be keeping a close eye on the carrier and respond if they were found to be in violation, but as it turns out that might not longer be happening as the federal appeals court has basically told the FCC that they do not have the power to police internet service providers to treat all traffic equally. Basically what this means is that for AT&T’s Sponsored Data program, the carrier will be able to allow the data being sponsored by companies to pass through faster, thus providing users with faster downloads of videos and files, but can also block other services when not in use, as long as they tell their subscribers about it.
This does sound “unfair” since it would mean that those who can afford it, are able to get access to better/faster internet speeds compared to the average user. Judge David Tatel admitted that there could be some negative consequences at striking down net neutrality, which he states, “The commission has adequately supported and explained its conclusion that absent rules such as those set forth in the Open Internet Order, broadband providers represent a threat to internet openness and could act in ways that would ultimately inhibit the speed and extent of future broadband deployment.” The FCC has vowed to continue to fight for net neutrality, although given that they have just lost the case, we’re not sure how they plan on doing so.