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.
The FCC's new framework has nothing to do with technology, or preserving the character or continued technological development of the Internet. It has nothing to do with law or fairness or the consistent application of rules for the better governance of a shared resource.
It has everything to do with the right of carriers to restrict competition and maximize their own profit at the expense of their own customers.
It puts the Internet providers in the position of Wall Street banks that made billions during the housing bubble by selling worthless securities to investors and offered irresistible, unpayable loans to people who couldn't afford them.
It is the codification in FCC policy that the Internet is not only not a shared space or utility meant to benefit everyone, but private property managed for the benefit and profit of the very few who own some of its pieces.
Economically it's a pyramid scheme.
Morally it's that fairytale about the goats crossing the bridge with the troll waiting underneath to eat them. Except, instead of being the big goat that comes along at the end to knock the troll back into its place, the FCC is sitting on the bank yelling; "Hope you're hungry, here comes another one."
This story, "FCC creates a monster, gives it control of the Internet" was originally published by ITworld.