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CBS is broadcasting Sunday's Denver Broncos playoff game and also streaming it live over the Internet for viewers without access to a TV. Imagine a scenario where CenturyLink broadband subscribers receive an uninterrupted stream of the game on their Web browser while customers of Comcast, owner of rival network NBC, are intentionally stuck with choppy Internet footage.
The situation can now play out after a federal appeals court last week threw out rules that prevented Internet service providers such as Comcast and CenturyLink from favoring or discriminating against online content and services.
In other words, broadband providers can now allow a Netflix movie, for example, to stream perfectly to their subscriber's home while blocking a YouTube video based on financial deals they cut with individual companies.
It is the chief, but not the only, concern that consumer advocates and others have about the appeals-court panel striking down the Federal Communications Commission's so-called network-neutrality rules.
Colorado technology leaders fear that the decision could hurt the state's growing startup ecosystem because it opens the door for Internet service providers, or ISPs, to offer preferential treatment to deep-pocketed and established companies that pay a premium.
"The ruling allows the cable and telecommunications gatekeepers to block any website or app they want and to give preference for 'high-speed lanes' to firms that they own or to firms willing to pay more," said Danny Katz, director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.
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