Appeals court upholds FCC's net neutrality rules

The agency's reclassification of broadband as a common-carrier telecom service was legal, the court rules

Appeals court upholds FCC's net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Federal Communications Commission

An appeals court has upheld the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's controversial net neutrality rules, passed in 2015. 

The FCC had the authority to reclassify broadband as a common-carrier telecom service to provide a foundation for net neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet traffic, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in an opinion released Tuesday.

The FCC, in a 3-2, party-line decision, voted in February 2015 to pass new net neutrality rules barring broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic. 

The commission, in an effort to give the rules a solid legal foundation, also voted to reclassify broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated telecommunications service.

In the following months, more than a dozen groups filed lawsuits challenging the reclassification of broadband. Among the plaintiffs are broadband providers AT&T and CenturyLink and trade groups CTIA, USTelecom, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

Since the FCC passed the regulations, often called the open Internet rules, consumers and groups have filed more than 18,000 complaints against broadband providers.

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