This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down the rules established by the FCC to preserve the concept of an “open” Internet. The appeals court essentially supported the position of the network and Internet service providers that they should be able to manage and operate their networks without interference by the FCC. While logically that makes sense, it creates an environment where the consumer may face higher cost, poor service and even a continued loss of privacy.
In 2010, the FCC established five rules which were to ensure compliance of broadband carriers to provide Internet service without prioritizing traffic or penalizing users for using competitive products or applications that consumed large amounts of broadband, such as Spotify, Netflix , Hulu or other streaming services. A key protection of the rules was to make certain that carriers did not block or unreasonably discriminate the types of traffic or data packets sent to or from subscribers. With this change, those protections will be at risk.
The Appeals Court essentially ruled that the FCC does have the authority to apply such rules to carriers but in this case they went beyond what the court believes was appropriate. In particular, the court believes that if a consumer is disappointed or frustrated by a service, they can choose another service provider. However, since consumers are usually required to sign a term agreement for the service, they are usually exposed to Early Termination Fees (ETFs). Therefore, if both the ruling of the court stands and ETFs remain in place, then consumers may not be able to switch service providers as easy as the court suggests.
Other concerns, such as service providers raising prices to match the data consumption of streaming service are valid. However, given that we have a capitalistic system, it is appropriate to price a product based upon consumption. To me, net neutrality was not about the cost of providing a service; therefore, I would not find it wrong for broadband and Internet service providers to implement pricing arrangements similar to wireless carriers. I would not like it, but I could not fault it.
Given the potential for mischief on the part of some service providers, net neutrality is not dead. There will be other protests, lawsuits, rulings and court cases before this is settled. But this week, the consumer lost, and the Internet became a little less “open.”
If you read my blog regularly, you know I enjoy cooking as much as I enjoy marketing. You also know, then, that I like to share the occasional recipe from my personal collection. Bon appetite.
- 1 pound dry linguini
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta cubed or sliced into small strips
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs beaten well
- ½ cup cream (optional)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Prepare the sauce before cooking the pasta. It is very important that the pasta is hot to cook the raw eggs. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and sauté 3-5 minutes, until crisp. Toss the shallot and garlic into the fat and sauté for a 1 minute to soften. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the linguini and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, yet firm. Drain the pasta well, reserving ½ cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce. Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pancetta mixture and toss to coat the pasta. Mix the eggs and Parmesan together, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg and cheese mixture onto the pasta, tossing quickly until the eggs thicken. Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, or add the optional cream. Season the Carbonara with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Mound the Carbonara into serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Top with more cheese while serving.