Web Lite, or pay up? Fake ad imagines a non-neutral net

The news that a Washington appeals court has tossed out the FCC's 2010 "Open Internet" order gives new currency to this 2009 graphic created by a Reddit user named Quink. As I noted in yesterday's Tech Life column, Comcast has promised to abide by the principles anyway, at least till 2018. Verizon, which took the Federal Communications Commission to court, has made similar, open-ended assurances.

So how will we know if broadband providers ever decide to block or discriminate against some Internet content, as the court now says they can? It might take another Robb Topolski, who discovered in 2007 that Comcast was secretly blocking BitTorrent, the file-sharing site. But it might also come, as Quink imagined, in cable-TV-style tiered offerings for Web access - as MetroPCS, now owned by T-Mobile, unveiled in 2011 right before it joined Verizon in challenging the FCC.