The DC Circuit handed the Federal Communications Commission a big win Tuesday, upholding the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The rules reclassify broadband internet (both fixed and mobile) as a telecommunications service, subjecting broadband providers to stricter regulations. Under key parts of the rules, websites can’t pay broadband providers to make access to their content faster. Broadband providers also cannot reduce connection speeds to, or block, legal content.
The wisdom of the rules is hotly disputed. Opponents—including major broadband companies—argue that classifying broadband as a public utility will eventually lead to a government monopoly on broadband service. Supporters—including major websites and app makers—argue that net neutrality leads to a free and open internet, fostering innovation.
The DC Circuit’s ruling settles the net neutrality debate, but only for now. Expect a Supreme Court appeal and continued political pressure to roll back the rules.
“While this is unlikely the last step in this decadelong debate over internet regulation, we urge bipartisan leaders in Congress to renew their efforts to craft meaningful legislation that can end ongoing uncertainty, promote network investment and protect consumers,” the NCTA statement said.