FCC Rebuked

Equal Internet no more? Net neutrality takes a blow in court ruling

Equal Internet no more? Net neutrality takes a blow in court ruling

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Tired of slow Internet connections and downloads?

Get ready for another potential roadblock on the information superhighway after a federal court ruling, which could to lead to slower downloads or even blocking access to Web sites altogether. The U.S. Court Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission “overstepped” its authority when it censured Comcast Corporation in 2008.

The FCC ruled against Comcast after it blocked users from Bit-Torrent, an online service that offers people the opportunity to share movies, music and other large digital files. Comcast blocked the access in an attempt to alleviate network congestion.

The court ruling pits proponents of Net Neutrality against telecom companies who complain that any government intrusion would discourage investments and complicate the justifiable need to manage traffic, spam and malware.

Net neutrality is the principle that the Web should remain an open range where Internet access providers don’t encumber or encourage particular devices, applications or content on their network.

The ruling by the court could also challenge the FCC’s ability to carry out the recently released National Broadband Plan, which would provide the agency the right to expand regulations for Internet service providers. The FCC said that it remained “firmly committed to promoting an open Internet."

The statement went on to say that “while the court decision invalidated its current approach to that goal, the court in no way disagreed with the importance of providing a free and open Internet, nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.”