Netflix and net neutrality threatened by US court ruling overturning the Open Internet Order

A challenge to the 2010 Order by ISP Verizon will allow ISPs to create a 'two tier' system which charges more for high-bandwidth activities online

A court decision in the US allowing internet service providers to prioritise types of online content is being seen by some as a threat to web streaming services and net neutrality.

On Tuesday the US Court of Appeals struck down a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2010 known as the Open Internet Order. This had established the concept of net neutrality – the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all web traffic as equal.

The dismantling of the order means that ISPs in the US can now charge companies that use a large amount of bandwidth more money, an increase in costs that may be passed on to consumers.

Services like Netflix that rely on high-speed internet connections to stream HD video to users are particularly threatened. The video-streaming service is the largest user of bandwidth in the US.

The company’s stock fell more than 5 per cent following the decision as it faces either diminishing the quality of the video it supplies or raising prices for its 31 million American subscribers.

Kevin Spacey in a scene from Kevin Spacey in a scene from "House of Cards", a Netflix original series.

Read more: 9 Netflix original series to watch in 2014

However, some analysts fear that the decision will have a wider impact on the structure of the internet, creating a two-tiered system in which companies that can’t afford to pay for high-speed internet are squeezed out by those with deeper pockets.

Verizon, the American ISP that successfully appealed the FCC’s 2010 order, have promised that the decision will not affect customer’s ability to access content online.

“The court's decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the internet,” said the company in a statement.

The FCC can choose to appeal the changes at the Supreme Court or Congress if they want to regain the power to enforce net neutrality, but this is by no means a given. FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler said:  

“We will consider all available options, including those for appeal, to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression, and operate in the interest of all Americans.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
gaming
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Business Analyst - MGA - London Market - Insurance Broker

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Argyll Scott International: A Business A...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Network / Systems Administrator (LAN, WAN, Windows)

£38000 - £42000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Netw...

Investigo: Group Financial Controller

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Investigo: A growing group of top end restaurants l...

Ashdown Group: HR Generalist - 2 week contract - £200pd - Immediate start

£200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible