A three-judge panel overturned an August 2008 FCC decision today that had found Comcast in violation of FCC rules due to throttling of Bit Torrent files. After that decision was handed down, Comcast immediately turned around and sued the FCC for overstepping their boundaries through trying to enforce net neutrality laws. Today’s decision is the outcome of that lawsuit.
Technically, the FCC had ancillary powers over broadband communications at the time, but today’s decision effectively removes any teeth that they may have had.
Specifically, the three-judge panel ruled that Congress had never given the FCC precise powers to regulate the network management policies of an internet service provider.
Net neutrality advocates are already setting the blogosphere on fire after the decision:
“Because this case has turned into a lawyers’ debate over technical issues, it is easy to lose sight of its importance to freedom of speech and expression. ISP interference to lawful uses of the Internet must not be tolerated, and the Commission must have the power to adopt rules to prohibit such practices.”
-Parul P. Desai, Vice President of Media Access Project