December 21, 2010, 3:01 PM — This morning the Federal Communications Commission turned the open Internet into the Grimm's fairy tale of pyramid schemes. One in which nothing changes, nothing new is created, but those with more power on the 'net get to feed on those with less.
Carriers -- who virtually wrote the FCC's policy and have defended it behind closed doors ever since, except when they ventured out to set up straw-man proposals that were even more outrageously unfair than the rules they were really promoting -- sit at the top of the pyramid.
Below them are content providers such as Time Warner and Netflix, and SAAS, cloud-computing and other online services companies whose traffic amounts to something slightly richer and more useful than bandwidth-saving ASCII text.
At the bottom of the pyramid are end users -- consumers and businesses who use the Internet in legitimate ways, who pay exorbitant fees to do so and whose interests the FCC was created to protect.
The FCC, which just finished reporting that the ISPs frequently offer expensively poor service and secret restrictions even without the legal right to do so, has agreed with carriers that the companies we pay to maintain the Internet can continue to impose restrictions that are capricious, unreasonably strict and inconsistently applied, with little or no consequence.