US Appeals Court Says Yes to Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality got a big thumbs up this week when a Federal Appeals Court judge panel ruled in favor of the FCC treating internet services as utilities. The ruling means the FCC has the authority to block Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and other broadband providers from selectively throttling content that passes through their networks.

Court upholds FCC Net Neutrality rulesCourt upholds FCC Net Neutrality rules

The FCC reclassified internet service providers as Title II carriers in February 2015 to prevent companies from killing bandwidth for competing services, or charging content providers such as Netflix for video streams traveling over their networks to end users. Service providers are against the changes claiming the FCC is killing innovation and competition.

That resistance led to a lawsuit from service providers as a move to overturn the FCC's new rules. Two of the three judges on the panel sided with the FCC saying end users rely on their broadband connections for every aspect of their lives. They said,

Over the past two decades, this content has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, from profound actions like choosing a leader, building a career, and falling in love to more quotidian ones like hailing a cab and watching a movie.

This week's ruling didn't pan out the way service providers hoped, but this isn't the end of the fight because they're fully prepared to take their fight all the way to the Supreme Court. AT&T general counsel David McAtee II said, "We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court and we look forward to participating in that appeal."

That means there's a chance Net Neutrality could still die, but for now the FCC has the authority to regulate broadband service providers and keep the internet open for all users. It also means the FCC can help protect online privacy by prohibiting service providers from collecting and selling data about customer's online activities.

The FCC is moving forward with its rules while service providers move forward with their push to the Supreme Court. The legal system is slow moving, so the FCC has time to work on more consumer-friendly internet rules while we wait to see if the top Federal court will even hear the case. Until then, Net Neutrality and consumers can enjoy their win.

[Thanks to the New York Times for the heads up]