Appeals Court Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

“Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators,” FCC chairman says

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the FCC’s Open Internet rules on Tuesday. The decision is considered a major victory for President Obama and a loss for telecommunications companies, who opposed the net neutrality rules.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth. After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the Commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections – both on fixed and mobile networks – that will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.

Last year, Obama urged the passage that was eventually approved by the FCC on a partisan 3-2 vote. Two earlier attempts by the FCC to put net neutrality regulations in place were thrown out by federal judges.

The regulations, which prohibit broadband providers from blocking, slowing or selling faster delivery of legal content flowing through their networks to consumers, were proposed by Wheeler and backed by Obama.

US Telecom, the National Cable and Telecommunications Associations, the CTIA, AT&T, the American Cable Association, Centurylong and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association were among the companies hoping to prevent the FCC from using its authority to regulate telephone lines to also regulate internet connections.

The decision was highly anticipated, as content providers such as Netflix feared that a lack of net neutrality rules would result in telecoms charging higher prices. Judge David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan wrote the opinion of the DC Court.