Federal Appeals Court rules against net neutrality, in favor of Internet service providers

BY newsdesk  January 14, 2014 at 4:17 PM EDT

D.C. Appeals Court. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor AgnosticPreachersKid

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s open Internet rules today. The court’s decision could give broadband providers, like Verizon and Comcast, the ability to charge content providers more for faster speeds.

The FCC’s net neutrality rules were created to ensure Internet service providers treat similar content equally. The court found that the FCC did not have the authority to impose these regulations. Because they did not recognize broadband carriers as common-carriers, such as telephone companies, these companies do not have to operate under the same regulations. Common-carrier refers to a company that provides a product to the general product, under the supervision of a regulatory body.

The federal appeals court threw out another FCC regulation, which kept internet providers from blocking Internet traffic completely.

The survival of net neutrality is now dependent on the FCC reclassifying the Internet. Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he supports net neutrality, but also opposes regulation of the Internet.