FCC's Net Neutrality Rule Struck Down by US Court of Appeals for DC

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A three-judge panel on January 14 struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rule. The regulation stated that broadband providers cannot favor certain internet services or programs over another. This prohibition ranges from variance in rates for certain services to the blocking of specific traffic for the efficiency of another.

The decision found the net neutrality rule contradicted a previous FCC decision in which the agency claimed a lack of authority over broadband companies. Because broadband companies are classified as an “information service,” the agency’s regulatory oversight is more limited than over phone companies. However the Court’s decision hinted that the rule would be valid as a matter of principle and made the argument that these companies could be brought back under the regulatory powers of the FCC should the agency remove their classification as information services.

EDUCAUSE was a main supporter of the FCC’s rule and the codification of a free and open Internet. In comments issued on October 12, 2010, EDUCAUSE, along with the Association of Research Libraries and the American Library Association, advocated for the removal of or protection against limitations on access to information and for maintaining net neutrality to “ensure that the Internet [continued] to be a platform for innovation and democratic debate.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said the agency is considering “all available options, including those for appeal.”  EDUCAUSE is currently considering the decision and evaluating the appropriate next steps.

More information on this ruling can be found here.