Free Press

The Federal Communications Commission will not appeal a court ruling that overturned the FCC’s anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules, Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today. Instead of trying to reinstate rules that prevented Internet service providers from blocking or disfavoring Web services such as Netflix and YouTube, the Commission will try to regulate anti-competitive behavior on a “case-by-case basis.”
Verizon succeeded in overturning most of the Open Internet Order, the FCC’s net neutrality regulation, when its suit saw the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit strike down major portions of the regulation last month.

The ruling left the FCC room to operate, though.

The commission could reinstate its anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules if it reclassified Internet providers as telecommunications services governed by Title II of the Communications Act, also known as “common carriers.”
Essentially, the ruling suggested that the FCC under previous Chairman Julius Genachowski screwed up the Open Internet Order by imposing common carriage rules on ISPs without declaring ISPs to be common carriers. But the new chairman, Wheeler, doesn’t plan to reclassify broadband.

He noted that the court decision affirmed the commission’s belief that Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 should “empower it to promulgate rules governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic.”

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