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Net neutrality fight heads to court

2019-02-01 15:51 by
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A panel of federal appeals court judges will hear oral arguments Friday in a lawsuit challenging the FCC's deregulation of the broadband industry. The court date comes more than a year after the agency voted to roll back the rules requiring internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

The Federal Communications Commission approved the net neutrality rules in 2015 to ensure internet users equal and open access to all websites and services. The commission, under new leadership, rolled the rules back in 2017.

The legal arguments are highly technical, focusing on whether the FCC acted properly when it classified the internet as a lightly-regulated "information service" — as opposed to a "telecommunications service," which is subject to stringent rules. The challengers will argue that the FCC has abandoned its mandate to ensure a free and open internet.

The case, before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, could wind through the courts for years. If the commission loses, it might try to rewrite its order rolling back the rules to avoid further legal challenges.

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