The DC Court of appeals has smacked down the FCC’s Net neutrality rules, why should you care? Because these rules were meant to protect the openness of the internet.
The ways this decision affects the Internet and it’s users be it good or bad vary greatly depending on who you ask and in essence it allows for the potential to alter the future of the internet as we know it.
The FCC guidelines set in 2010 was done to ensure that Broadband Providers preserved open access to the internet.
There are three main rules at the heart of the regulation:
- Broadband providers, whether fixed or wireless, are open and transparent to their customers and to the services using their networks about how they manage congestion on the systems.
- Prohibits broadband operators from blocking lawful content on their networks. Here, there’s some difference in strictness depending on whether the provider deals in fixed-broadband or wireless services. Fixed-broadband providers, such as cable operators and DSL providers, have abided by a more stringent set of rules, and wireless operators adhered to a less strict version of the rules.
- This one applies only to fixed-broadband providers, prohibits “unreasonable” discrimination against traffic on their networks.
On Tuesday, the federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision that even though the FCC has the authority to regulate broadband access, it based these rules on a flawed legal argument. In other words, the FCC based its Net neutrality regulation on a law that does not apply to broadband providers.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), one of the most vocal lawmakers supporting open Internet rules, said Tuesday that Net neutrality is the free speech issue of our time. He added that it’s a common-sense idea that big corporations like Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner shouldn’t control who gets to innovate, communicate, or start a business on the Internet. And he is urging the FCC to find a way to make rules that will not be challenged in court.
“Getting rid of Net neutrality is bad for consumers and the economy, plain and simple,” he said in a statement. “And it’s a real risk to the Internet as we know it. The FCC needs to respond immediately in a way that keeps the Internet open to all of us, not just big corporate interests.”
One thing is certain, the Net neutrality debate is far from over. And this court decision is not the last you’ll hear about the issue.
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