The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. The verdict â€“ a major blow to Net Neutrality â€“ follows Comcast's challenge to the FCC's authority to rule that they may not 'manage' traffic on their network after the FCC accused them on doing so unfairly.
The decision also has serious implications for the massive national broadband plan released by the FCC last month. The FCC needs clear authority to regulate broadband in order to push ahead with some its key recommendations, including a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the federal fund that subsidises telephone service in poor and rural communities.
The FCC said it remains “firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans” and “will rest these policies … on a solid legal foundation.”
Comcast said: “We are gratified by the Court’s decision to vacate the previous FCC’s order. Our primary goal was always to clear our name and reputation. We have always been focused on serving our customers and delivering the quality open-Internet experience consumers want. Comcast remains committed to the FCC’s existing open Internet principles, and we will continue to work constructively with this FCC as it determines how best to increase broadband adoption and preserve an open and vibrant Internet.”