Tech

Federal Court Upholds Net Neutrality Rules

By Victor Thomson , Jun 15, 2016 05:10 AM EDT
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The regulators enjoy a major victory in the fight over net neutrality after a federal appeals court has voted on Tuesday, June 14, to keep strict new rules for Internet providers.

According to the Washington Post, this is one of the most important changes to hit the internet industry. The 2-1 court ruling at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit forces Internet services providers (ISPs) such as Comcast and Verizon to respect federal regulations that ban the slowing or blocking of Internet traffic to users.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations also ban carriers from selectively speeding up certain websites that pay a fee to the providers. This tactic could be unfair and detrimental to innovators and startups that may not be able to afford it.

According to the New York Times, the federal court has also ruled that high-speed internet service can be defined as a utility. The decision is published on the U.S. federal court's official website

After those rules were created in early 2015 by the Federal Communications Commission, the cable, telecom and wireless internet providers started a legal battle and sued to overturn regulations. They argument was the fact that their business might get hurt by these regulations that went far beyond the F.C.C.'s authority.

On the other side, President Obama has called for strict rules to apply in guiding broadband providers. Tech companies and millions of consumers have also rallied in favor of the regulations.

The court's decision is ensuring a greater protection for web users and more rigorous policing of broadband providers. This is also expressing the government's view that broadband is as essential as the power and phone and, rather than being a luxury, it should be available to all Americans.

The two federal court judges who voted in favor of the F.C.C.  understood the importance of the internet as an information and communication platform.  The ruling provides F.C.C with the ability to enforce strong internet protection after a decade of debate and legal battles, according to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the F.C.C.

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