Washington Hotline

Ellen Satterwhite

Abstract

The fight for network neutrality continues, despite disappointing court ruling

On October 1, 2019, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit delivered a long-awaited and complex ruling on whether the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had the authority to eliminate Obama-era network neutrality protections that required all Internet traffic to be treated equally and prohibited blocking or prioritizing traffic in any way. The issue hinges in part on the reclassification of broadband as a telecommunications service, which would have made Internet service providers subject to stricter regulations. The judges ruled in favor of the FCC, saying it does have the authority to determine how the Internet is regulated (or not, in this case). At the same time, the court also determined the FCC still has work to do, remanding parts of the order back for further proceedings and, most importantly, rejecting the FCC’s attempts to prevent states from passing their own net neutrality rules.

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