US Supreme Court rejects to hear the broadband industry challenge of 2015 net neutrality rules

5 Nov 2018

Today US Supreme Court rejects to hear the broadband industry challenge of 2015 net neutrality rules. According to its announcement, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch "would grant the petitions, vacate the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [which upheld the FCC's net neutrality order], and remand to that court with instructions to dismiss the cases as moot." If the broadband industry won this petition, it could mean that future administrations will be prevented from imposing a similarly strict set of rules. John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge, believes that “this is good news for net neutrality supporters. The D.C. Circuit's previous decision upholding both the FCC's classification of broadband as a telecommunications service, and its rules prohibiting broadband providers from blocking or degrading internet content, remains in place.”

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The Internet’s success lies in its design, which is based on the principle of net neutrality. From the outset, the flow of all the content on the Internet was treated without discrimination. New entrepreneurs did not need permission or market power to innovate on the Internet. With the development of new digital services, especially the ones consuming high bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming, some Internet operators (telecom companies and ISPs) started prioritising certain traffic – such as their own services or the services of their business partners – based on business needs and plans, justifying such an approach with a need to raise funds to further invest in the network. Net neutrality proponents strongly fight back such plans arguing this could limit open access to information and online freedoms, and stifle online innovation.

 

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