Posted by 01 October 2019
A federal court refused to reinstate federal net neutrality rules. In a decision handed down today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not break the law when it repealed Obama-era net neutrality regulations.
At issue is the December 2017 vote by the FCC to repeal regulations that classified the services of Internet providers as a public utility. The result of the regulations was to force providers not to discriminate in pricing, content, and the management of the network. The FCC put these rules in place in 2015 to the dismay of service providers. However, companies such as Google and Netflix had lobbied for them.
The 2017 vote did not remove federal oversight from the Internet. In fact, the rule mandates transparency for network management practices. The Federal Trade Commission also regulates Internet service providers. But it did lessen the ability of the government to set rules proactively that constrain Internet service providers.
Proponents of net neutrality rules took the FCC to court, arguing that this repeal was unlawful. The circuit court rejected this argument, but did bar the FCC from prohibiting states from passing similar laws.
In April, the House of Representatives voted 232-190 in favor of HR 1644, a bill that would reinstate net neutrality rules. The Senate has not taken action on the bill.
Do you favor re-instating net neutrality rules? Should Internet service providers be regulated as public utilities?