June 14, 2016
A U.S. appeals court has sided with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), upholding the agency’s Open Internet rules.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today upheld the Net neutrality rules approved by the FCC last winter. Under the rules, blocking and throttling become major no-nos as does paid prioritization, meaning broadband providers cannot implement “fast lanes” for streaming video providers willing to fork over enough cash.
USTelecom, a trade organization representing telecommunications-related businesses based in the U.S., filed a lawsuit last March in a bid to halt Net neutrality. The group, at the time, said although it agrees with the concept of an open Internet, it cannot support the FCC’s decision to enact Title II, a reclassification of broadband Internet providers as telecom services.
The group expressed its disappointment in a brief statement on its website.
“Two judges on the court have unfortunately failed to recognize the significant legal failings of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to regulate the internet as a public utility, leaving in place regulation we believe will replace a consumer-driven internet with a government-run internet, threatening investment and innovation in years to come,” USTelecom President Walter McCormick said.
“Our industry strongly supports open Internet principles and the FCC’s order is wholly unnecessary to keeping the internet open. We will continue to work toward policies that facilitate America’s broadband leadership, are reviewing the court’s decision, and will be evaluating all of our legal options.”
According to a number of media reports, the Internet services providers represented by USTelecom are planning to appeal the decision before the full appellate court or to the Supreme Court.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, however, was ready to get on with Net neutrality’s implementation.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the Internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth,” Wheeler said. “After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the Commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible Internet protections – both on fixed and mobile networks – that will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future.”
Dubbed ‘Open Internet FCC-15-24A1,’ the FCC’s new rules are available for download on its website.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.