Big win for FCC in net neutrality case


Coverage Type: op-ed
Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

[Commentary] The DC Circuit threw us a curveball in upholding the Federal Communication Commission’s argument that Section 706 of the Communications Act provides it with jurisdiction over Internet networks (“advanced communications” in the language of the Act) but nonetheless struck down most of the FCC’s “Open Internet” rules.

The court split the baby in such a way that the FCC can declare victory -- its authority was upheld -- but so can Verizon, since the rules that forbade the sale of advanced network services were struck down. For consumers, this is good news. The court upheld the transparency requirements in the Open Internet order that permit consumers to make well-informed and rational choices between broadband providers, and the court said that the FCC has broad authority over broadband that it can use to prevent actual harm to consumers. The champions of net neutrality suffered a big loss, on the other hand, because they now have the challenge of convincing the public that the FCC needs to move broadband into the regulatory category designed for the old telephone network at the same time that the FCC is trying to phase out traditional telephony in favor of the Internet.

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