U.S. Appeals Court Rules in Favor of FCC Net Neutrality Rules

by

FCCA U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld landmark federal rules preventing internet service providers from obstructing or slowing down consumer access to web content (via Reuters).

The backing for the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules came in a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The outcome reaffirms the law enforced last year that says ISPs must treat all internet traffic equally.

The rules prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to faster internet lanes for specific internet services, which the FCC claims will help protect freedom of expression and innovation on the internet.

The court also rejected legal arguments from telecommunications industry groups that the rules should not apply to mobile phone web use or that they violated the constitutional free-speech rights of internet service providers.

The court's decision in favor of the FCC means that it too considered the internet to be a public utility, and therefore subject to government regulations. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the ruling "a victory for the open, fair, and free internet as we know it today," and one that barred service providers from becoming "paid gatekeepers".

The outcome will also be seen as a personal victory for President Barack Obama, who is a strong advocate of net neutrality rules, although ISPs have already said they plan to appeal to either the full appellate court or the Supreme Court over the ruling. Telecoms industry groups have also said they will continue with efforts to get Congress to limit the FCC's authority.

Netflix and Twitter were among the companies that praised the ruling, while Google and others have backed the rules. Democrats in Congress also lauded the decision to back the FCC rules, which have been in place since June 2015.

However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group accused the FCC of "essentially transforming an entire industry... from an innovative, lightly regulated enterprise that made huge investments into this country, into a public utility subject to the whims of regulators."

South Dakota Republican John Thune, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, said the decision upholds FCC restrictions "designed for the monopoly-telephone era" and asked the Republican-led Congress to step in to overturn a decision that results in "a highly political agency micromanaging the internet ecosystem."

US Telecom, the telecommunications industry trade association that led the legal challenge, said the court failed to recognize "the significant legal failings" of the FCC rules that "we believe will replace a consumer-driven internet with a government-run internet, threatening innovation and investment in years to come."

But FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the ruling "a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web" and claimed that it would ensure the internet remained "a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
54 months ago
Well, I dunno about you guys in the US, but I'd say that the government regulating any business is the exact opposite of freedom. Be it your local grocery store or your ISP.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago

[...] or that they violated the constitutional free-speech rights of internet service providers.

Wow, the audacity these scumbags have...

Glassed Silver:mac
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago

Can't stand Net Neutrality. It's OrwellSpeak like Love is Hate or War is Peace. The complete opposite to what it stands for.

Why can't we pay for superior service? I don't want my service slowed to a crawl by scum downloading torrents and pirating. Do we insist that everyone has to travel at the speed of the slowest car? No. We have multiple lanes. Net Neutrality is the Democrats trying to impose socialism on us. They can bugger off.

That's not net neutrality. If you want superior service, you can buy superior service. However, if you or I buy superior service all data regardless of what it is (movie, music, game, etc) or what website it comes from should be delivered at that superior speed.

If I buy 50/10 up/down service, then I get that speed regardless of what the data is or where it is from.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago
That FCC badge looks like an effort from a baked student.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago

I see what you did there.

Ω I.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago

It's almost like apps with in-apps. Yuck.

Kindasorta, yeah.

Though if you want to get into the more economically philosophical aspects of it, ISPs could prioritize their own services over 3rd parties, offering them up for less money, choking out their competition. Large internet services like Amazon and Facebook could do the same, paying for priority over a network, pushing out the little guys.

The way things are right now, where data is data, and ISPs don't concern themselves over what it is or where it came from unless it's effecting network stability, is the way the internet has always been ran, and the way it should always be ran. You get more competition, better quality services, and anyone can come up with the next big thing.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Microsoft to Stop Supporting Office 2016 for Mac in October

Monday August 3, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac is set to reach its end of support date on October 13, 2020, and after that date, connecting to Office 365 services using the Office 2016 for Mac software will no longer be supported. Microsoft shared the detail in a support document from July highlighting which versions of Office will be supported for connecting to Office 365 services in the future.Connecting ...

Apple Shares Requirements for Default Third-Party Browser and Email Apps With Developers

Monday August 3, 2020 4:28 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 plans to allow users to set a third-party app as the default email or browser app on an iPhone or iPad, replacing the current Apple-made default apps Safari and Mail. Apple hasn't provided many details on the new feature to users, but as noted by MacStories' Federico Vittici, Apple has shared documentation with developers who want their apps to have the option to be set as a...