Given in Rare: Could the D.C. Court of Appeals Spell the Death of Net Neutrality?

September 11, 2013

By Casey Given

Despite the Federal Communications Commission’s repeated efforts to expand their regulatory reach over the Internet beyond what Congress has authorized, their Open Internet order may finally be neutralized in the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Last Monday, two out of three judges who heard in Verizon’s challenge to the 2010 rule expressed doubt in the FCC’s statutory authority to enforce net neutrality, perhaps foreshadowing an end to the beginning of government regulation of the World Wide Web. Or, at least for the time being.

At issue is the FCC’s assertion that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 grants it power to regulate broadband companies as a common carrier subject to government review. Unfortunately for the Commission’s creative interpretation, the Act expressly states that a “telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier… only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunications services.”

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