Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Net Neutrality Rules

This happened yesterday, but I’ve been sitting on it and thinking about it more. It’s a heavy, complex issue that I’m sure I don’t fully understand. I do understand this decision, though:

In an opinion written by Judge David Tatel, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the network neutrality rules contradicted a previous FCC decision that put broadband companies beyond its regulatory reach.

“Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers,” Tatel wrote, “the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such.”

This decision is a short-term blow to net neutrality, obviously. The court ruled against the FCC on what amounts to a technicality, but I think this could be a long-term benefit to the net neutrality fight. The court basically spelled out to the FCC exactly what they need to do in order to be able to regulate internet providers: designate and treat them as common carriers, like phone companies.

Now all the FCC needs to do is actually implement those rules. Piece of cake, right?