FCC Can’t Force Net Neutrality, Court Rules

S.T. Karnick
The American Culture

A federal appeals court struck a blow against the desire of the Federal Communications Commission to enforce net neutrality rules on the Internet, ruling the FCC must first get Congress to approve such a sweeping expansion of its regulatory power.

The decision made it clear that the FCC has no authority to force Comcast to stop managing its broadband network as it sees fit—in this case by throttling back the speed of a relative handful of “bandwidth hogs” who use bitTorrent programs to share enormous files. Comcast said it throttled the “hogs” to ensure speedy service for the majority of its customers in 2007, but no longer does so.

The United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia handed down the 36-page decision on April 6. Commonly referred to as Comcast v. FCC, the ruling stated that the FCC’s “ancillary authority” over the broadcast and cable industries “is not the equivalent of untrammeled freedom to regulate activities” on the Internet, too.

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