“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.]