Net Neutrality: Sweeping Victory for Fair Internet Access

Published Date : Jun 15, 2016

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court upheld the net neutrality rules by the government, preserving rules that enforce leading providers of internet, such as AT&T and Comcast, to consider all forms of online traffic equally – whether it is a cat video, Netflix, downloads, or games. 

The ruling, 2 to 1 in favor of upholding net neutrality rules, is being considered a massive victory for the Obama government as well as for those internet companies and consumer groups who have been tirelessly working to make net neutrality stick. The rules by the Federal Communications Commission prevents providers of internet services from being biased toward their own services and causing disadvantage for others; developing what are called “fast lanes” for all forms of data services that pay for that privilege; and blocking other apps and sites. 

In terms of technicalities, the ruling on Tuesday upholds the authority of the FCC to govern broadband services like it would a utility such as phone service and to block unreasonable practices. The ruling also applies to providers of wired broadband such as mobile companies like Verizon and cable companies.

Regulations to Get Tougher Down the Road 

The rules pertaining to net neutrality have been enforced since June now and the decision by the court is not likely to have any impact on how the internet works henceforth. However, it will change the way providers of broadband act and the FCC is already working toward this. Tuesday’s ruling by the federal appeals court could make things much tougher for phone and cable companies by affecting the kind of services on offer, the charges they wish to apply, and the kinds of consumer data they can use and how. 

FCC Victory Long Time Coming

The magnitude of the victory of the Federal Communications Commission has shocked almost everyone, although it is in agreement that the victory was long time coming. Similar rules from the Federal Communications Commission have been twice rejected by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. However, back then, the rules were based on a more unsubstantiated claim.