Federal court strikes down net neutrality rules

A federal appeals court has struck down Federal Communications Commission rules that prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from restricting access to legal Web content. The ruling is the latest development in the long-running battle over net neutrality. Net neutrality advocates want to preserve the Web’s status quo, in which providers such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable can’t auction off priority traffic rights to one site over another, or impose tolls for high-bandwidth sites such as video streamers Netflix and Hulu.

A federal appeals court today nullified key provisions of the FCC’s net neutrality rules, opening the door to a curated approach to internet delivery that allows broadband providers to block content or applications as they see fit. The 3-0 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit guts much of a 2010 Federal Communications Commission order, in a challenge brought by Verizon. The nation’s number one mobile provider successfully argued that the regulatory agency overstepped its authority because it issued the rules in 2010 without classifying broadband providers as common carriers, like rank-and-file telcos.

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