The FCC has painted itself and net neutrality into a corner
Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2014 - 01:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: net neutrality, legal, FCC
The US FCC has been told they do not have the authority to enforce its Network Neutrality rules as they have defined the Internet as something unique and therefor not covered under the existing common carriage regulations. These regulations have evolved for over 100 years from when they first referred to actual physical carriages transporting goods and have since expanded to less physical services such as cable TV. That has allowed government agencies to regulate providers and transporters of goods and services by accounting for almost any business practice that has been used since this regulations inception. Unfortunately as the FCC has chosen to define broadband internet as a distinct service the ruling today does make legal sense, there are no legal statutes on the books specifically about Net Neutrality and now the debate should shift to whether it is wiser to attempt to create a brand new set of regulations or if the FCC should attempt to change its stance and attempt to have common carrier regulations apply to broadband suppliers and their negotiations with both edge providers and end users. It is worth following the link from Slashdot to the ruling, it is 80 pages long but contains a lot of the history of the legal decisions that have lead to this point as well as containing some amusing analogies. After all, it is not like at least one mobile provider is already set to take advantage of the current unenforceable nature of net neutrality regulations.
"According to a report from Gizmodo, a U.S. Appeals Court has invalidated the FCC's Net Neutrality rules. From the decision: 'Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such."
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