Net Neutrality Foes Ask an Appeals Court to Halt Key New Rule
The legal battle over the new net neutrality rules is likely to go on for some time. In March and April, the FCC was hit with six earlier petitions opposing the Title II reclassification of the Internet, according to earlier eWEEK reports. Those legal actions were filed separately by AT&T, the CTIA mobile trade association, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the American Cable Association, USTelecom (a Washington-based telecommunications trade group) and Alamo Broadband. In February, the FCC approved its new net neutrality rules by a 3-to-2 vote, with the key and most controversial change being that the agency will now begin to regulate the Internet as a public utility under Title II. Many critics passionately opposed the move, arguing that the Internet does not need that kind of oversight and that it would ultimately stifle innovation and increase costs and hassle for consumers. The FCC countered that the new regulations would "set sustainable rules of the roads that will protect free expression and innovation on the Internet and promote investment in the nation's broadband networks," according to an earlier eWEEK report. Two prior attempts by the FCC to set rules for Internet use into the future were struck down by courts, but the latest attempt resolves the legal issues that eventually undermined those attempts, the agency said. Critics vehemently disagree with that analysis.The issue of net neutrality has been a hotbed for several years, with proponents and opponents arguing their positions and bashing the opposition verbally in public forums and discussions.
The new FCC rules also include key provisions that broadband providers cannot block access to legal content, applications and services, nor can they "throttle," or slow up, access to lawful Internet traffic, according to the FCC. Also prohibited under the new rules is paid prioritization in which broadband providers could favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for extra payments, essentially prohibiting so-called fast lanes to the highest bidders.