NET NEUTRALITY WINS IN U.S. COURT OF APPEALS

Jun 14, 2016 by

 

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler (C) holds hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn (L) and Jessica Rosenworcel during an open hearing on Net Neutrality at the FCC headquarters February 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. Today the FCC will vote on Net Neutrality seeking to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Another victory!

Another huge net neutrality was secured Tuesday, when a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld, 2-1 the FCC’s open internet order, in full. Every part of it is legal, the court ruled.

The 2-1 court ruling Tuesday forces Internet providers such as Verizon and Comcast to obey federal regulations that ban the blocking or slowing of Internet traffic to consumers. The regulations from the Federal Communications Commission also forbid carriers from selectively speeding up websites that agree to pay the providers a fee — a tactic critics have said could unfairly tilt the commercial playing field against startups and innovators who may not be able to afford it.More broadly, the decision affirms Washington’s ability to regulate Internet providers like legacy telephone companies. Approved in a bitterly partisan vote last year, the move by the FCC to “reclassify” Internet providers significantly expanded the agency’s role in overseeing the industry. It opened up Internet providers to all-new obligations they were not subject to before, such as privacy requirements that all telecom companies currently follow in order to protect consumers’ personal data.

The court says yes, the FCC has not just the ability but the responsibility to enforce these good things. The telecoms have a responsibility to their customers to do these good things to protect them. It’s an unequivocal win for consumers and for everyone who uses the internet.

And because we can’t have just one nice thing that we don’t have to continue to fight to preserve, of course this isn’t the end. Despite the fact that this should be over, that the court has ruled, House Republicans continue to pass legislation to try to kill it. The telecoms aren’t going to stop fighting either, and are certain to appeal.

The next avenue of appeal? Of course it’s the Supreme Court. Which bring us back to this: the Supreme Court is everything. Which means we must have a Democratic president to picks the next justice, and a Democratic Senate to confirm him or her.

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