A federal appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of strict net neutrality regulations.
What We Know:
- On Tuesday, October 1, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had a mixed ruling which upheld the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) regulations which would enforce stronger oversight over broadband providers.
- In 2015 during the Obama administration, the FCC made the decision to enforce strict rules on broadband providers. These rules stopped companies such as Comcast and AT&T from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. However in 2017, the decision was repealed and the rules were thrown out in a 3 to 2 party-line vote.
- David R. McAtee II, AT&T’s General Counsel believes that “The decision is a victory for U.S. broadband investment and broadband consumers everywhere.” Companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all expressed their opposition to net neutrality rules and see this decision as a win as well.
- Supporters of net neutrality believe that with this decision consumers will have even more difficulty getting access to online content and start-ups will have to invest funds to reach consumers.
- In addition to the upheld repeal, the court noted that the FCC had overstepped by stopping state and local governments from writing their own rules. The court also said that they would need to reassess a program called Lifeline, established during the Obama administration, that offered to cover broadband, internet service, and phone connections for low-income consumers.
The debate over net neutrality regulations continues as states argue how best to regulate the infrastructure of the internet.