Big win for Comcast as US court rules against FCC on authority to impose ‘Net Neutrality’

TiVo Premiere - Free Shipping“A federal court threw the future of Internet regulations and U.S. broadband expansion plans into doubt Tuesday with a far-reaching decision that went against the Federal Communications Commission,” Joelle Tessler reports for The Huffington Post. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. That was a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company, which had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose such ‘Net neutrality’ obligations on broadband providers.”

“The ruling marks a serious setback for the FCC, which is trying to adopt official net neutrality regulations. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat, argues that such rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from using their control over Internet access to favor some online content and services over others,” Tessler reports “The decision also has serious implications for the massive national broadband plan released by the FCC last month. The FCC needs clear authority to regulate broadband in order to push ahead with some its key recommendations, including a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the federal fund that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural communities.”

Tessler reports, “The court case centered on Comcast’s challenge of a 2008 FCC order banning the company from blocking its broadband subscribers from using an online file-sharing technology known as BitTorrent. The commission, at the time headed by Republican Kevin Martin, based its order on a set of Net-neutrality principles it adopted in 2005 to prevent broadband providers from becoming online gatekeepers. Those principles have guided the FCC’s enforcement of communications laws on a case-by-case basis.”

“But Comcast had argued that the FCC order was illegal because the agency was seeking to enforce mere policy principles, which don’t have the force of regulations or law. That is one reason that Genachowski is now trying to formalize those rules,” Tessler reports. “The cable company had also argued that the FCC lacks authority to mandate Net neutrality because it deregulated broadband in a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Robert S.” for the heads up.]

46 Comments

  1. Not good.

    We need net neutrality like we need real ‘fair and balanced’ news. Without net neutrality, some deep pocket media moguls may end up controlling the message. The people will lose and corporations will win once again.

  2. Hurrah!!! There’s still hope for freedom in the States. (Unfortunately, not in healthcare–but that monstrosity will eventually be overturned/repealed.)

  3. @KeepHopeAlive – I am certain the readers would appreciate your insight on how the situation of possible content control and rising cost of internet access might be handled. You have sarcastically indicated what you’d prefer not happening, but what is your solution?

  4. I should add, though, that we do need to increase competition among ISPs, so consumers have multiple options. Don’t like Comcast restricting your endless downloads on BitTorrent? Willing to spend more on an ISP that will let you BitTorrent 24/7? Choose that one and pay for it!

  5. Sheesh Jake… There is NO competition in broadband in many areas of the US. AND, the ISPs we do have suck, but it isn’t like we have any choice (the free market has done such a great job). So, it is a great idea that they can do whatever the hell they want and decide how bits get to my computer?

  6. Healthcare will go the way of social security, Medicare, and the other social services.
    Slow and steady until it is out of money, control, and costing trillions of dollars.
    Look back at the projections of cost as they thought it would develop and what reality delivered- very different.

  7. @Original Jake

    Healthcare… a monstrosity??? You must be a rich US citizen or you´re just plain selfish/stupid?

    @ Bill

    You said: “Without net neutrality, some deep pocket media moguls may end up controlling the message. The people will lose and corporations will win once again”

    Bill… I could´nt agree more! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Finally someone smart putting the government in its place!

    We need net non-neutrality like we need another CNN, MSNBC or NYT news. With net non-neutrality, some Chicago thug mentality monguls may end up controlling the propaganda. The people will lose. PERIOD! and government will win once again, and how did Democrat Congressman John Dingell say it, oh yeah, “Control the People”. (

    )

    So much for “Government Of the People, By the People, For the People”! This country has gone from the founding days with the ‘Sons of Liberty’ to the present day being governed by the ‘Sons of Bitches!’ But every once in a while, one of these SOB’s slip up and tells the truth!

    Although I am sure we have not heard the last from the regime!

  9. Yeah, I’m rich, and all the others who can’t afford $2000 a month on health insurance premiums can wither and die, for all I care. Screw public responsibility! Can’t earn a decent living? Die already!

    MDN word: “lack,” as in “I lack both a heart AND a conscience and I don’t give a damn! Capitalism for the win, mofo!”

  10. Funny…

    The way I interpret the ruling (Bizlaw, a little help?) is that the Court decided that the FCC did not show that the FCC followed their own Charter and make their edict a true rule.

    Essentially, if the FCC wants to say what they did to Comcast, they need to announce it as a rule, publicize it, and then hold a hearing and and formalize the rule.

    The FCC has a broad charter and a clause within their charter to do anything “not envisioned, but pertaining to…” blah, blah, blah…

    so, as long as they go back and hold hearings and make a formal rule, they are still able to impose the restriction.

  11. @Macfabulous — I don’t think you have a clear picture of the history entitlement programs in the U.S. Our Congress has a long history of misrepresenting the true cost of these programs. Most Americans want some form of health care reform, but most agree that the bill passed IS a monstrosity that will collapse on itself, but not before it has decimating the existing system. We are not selfish or stupid; just concerned that we are on the wrong path to the right solution.

    Based on your wording, I am assuming that you are non-American.

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