A federal appeals court on Tuesday fully upheld the so-called Open Internet rules, regulations backing the principle of net neutrality.
It's the idea that phone and cable companies should treat all of the traffic on their networks equally — no blocking or slowing their competitors, and no fast lanes for companies that can pay more.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the petition filed by telecom, cable and wireless industry associations alongside AT&T, CenturyLink and several smaller providers. President Obama and various Internet and venture companies and public interest groups backed the Federal Communications Commission.
This was the third time in less than a decade that the court has tackled the FCC's attempts at regulating Internet service providers.
As we explained before, the key question before the court was whether the FCC had proper authority to reclassify broadband Internet as a more heavily regulated telecommunications service, similar to traditional telephony. As we have reported:
"This court, early (in 2014), threw out the FCC's earlier rules because it ruled they were effectively treating ISPs as if they were providing 'telecommunications services,' sort of like traditional telephone companies, even though the FCC itself had classified them in the more lightly regulated category of 'information service providers.'
So this time around, the FCC (with President Obama's weigh-in) decided to reclassify broadband Internet access under what's known as Title II of the Telecommunications Act — considering it like an essential public utility, like landline telephone service in the past century."