Last month, a federal court struck down part of the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules. The result is that this allows internet providers to charge different rates for different types of traffic. They could charge more for streaming music and less for viewing text based webpages. But mostly, they want to charge more for streaming from television and movie streaming websites. There would be a vested interest in doing so because most internet providers are primarily cable companies, which means that they are reliant on tradition television viewership. After parts of the FCC’s Open Internet rules are removed, it allows for this kind of thing from cable companies. It allows cable companies to leverage their role as gatekeepers to the internet. We, as consumers, essentially rely on cable companies to use the internet. There is no way for us to connect without going through them, making them gatekeepers, bridges, pivotal for us to get to the internet.
However, there is now a call to reinstate the open internet rules to the way they were before. Realizing the need to have free-flowing access to the internet, a group of senators are acting to get this back. We’ll see how this all turns out, but either way, it shows the power that gatekeepers have over the flow of information when they are given complete discretion.