Net Neutrality, Back In Court Again

December 4th, 2015 by · Leave a Comment

Today the FCC’s latest regulatory effort to impose network neutrality on the internet will face a challenge it’s faced many times but not in a successful way. Yep, it’s time to go back into to court and try, try again.

The previous iteration of network neutrality was struck down by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on the grounds that the FCC didn’t have the authority to do it the way that they did. So the FCC took the court’s advice and re-imposed Title II on the internet, giving themselves the right to do what they had done before without first giving themselves that right. We’re all still pretending any of that makes sense outside Washington DC, but that’s another story.

Anyhow, while last time the smart money was on Verizon’s challenge, this time the conclusion is very much up in the air. Opponents have a few avenues of attack, but the defense’s fortifications are much more solid this time. One of the judges has been through this twice before, and authored the 2014 opinion whose suggestions the FCC has designed its latest attempt on, while the other two will be a bit more of a puzzle.

The legal details will be complicated (impenetrable, really), but the battle lines when it comes to the public are pretty simple. The incumbents and cable MSOs will call it an unnecessary, communist power grab that kills investment and innovation, and the content industry will claim it’s necessary to defend consumer choice and freedom against the greedy corporations who want to tell us what we can view/hear/read and to make everyone pay for the privilege.  Nothing to see here, move along.

It will be quite some time before any of this turns into an actual ruling of course. Maybe by then everyone will have finally found some middle ground. Hah… that would be funny if it weren’t.

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Categories: Government Regulations · Internet Traffic

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