US Court Of Appeals Upholds Net Neutrality Rules Imposed By The FCC Last Year
Count this is another win for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its long time bid to make the information superhighway a fair and open place for every consumer and business entity. Just this week, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled to uphold the net neutrality rules established by the FCC more than a year ago.
The decision made by the US Court of Appeals enforces the FCC’s assertion that it indeed has the authority to group Internet broadband service providers under several of the same laws that were used as basis in classifying telephone networks for over eight decades now. Moreover, the latest ruling could serve as the last nail in the coffin in putting the issue of the legality of the net neutrality rules to rest. Still, this might not stop companies belonging to broadband and wireless industries to look for holes in the ruling, and escalate an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
Despite that possibility, the FCC has plenty to celebrate. Yet again, in spite of some fierce opposition, its net neutrality rules have remained relatively untouchable. And with public support coming from the likes of Google, Netflix, and even President Barack Obama himself, those rules continue to weather intense attacks from such vocal critics like wireless industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
It is pretty understandable by now why some providers are so vehemently opposed to net neutrality rules. They view the reclassification of broadband services under the “public utility” category as a means for the FCC to impose higher rates on them, while at the same time, hindering them from expanding upgrading their network infrastructure. The FCC has argued that its intention was not to meddle with rates and innovation, but to make sure it can better police business practices on the Internet in order to protect consumers and even the businesses themselves.
Even when the FCC proposed the first true set of net neutrality rules back in the year 2010, it already had to deal with opposition from Verizon Wireless. By the time the agency had further fine tuned the rules last year, the flak always came, but thankfully, the FCC had by that time attracted some supporters. After the rules were successfully passed in 2015, opposing parties doubled their efforts in questioning the legitimacy of the rules and whether the FCC had the proper authority to implement them. With this latest ruling, the FCC may have scored a win, but more battles may be under way.