FCC Open Docket, Accepting Court Invite to Preserve an Open Internet

Following a net neutrality court defeat, the FCC took new steps Feb. 19 to "ensure the Internet remains a platform for innovation."

With net neutrality threatened by a January court ruling, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said it plans to propose new rules that will reinstate its Internet-protecting power.

On Jan. 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a judgment in the case of Verizon vs. the FCC, which challenged the Open Internet Order— legislation that says all Internet traffic must be treated equally, or the practice referred to as net neutrality. The court ruled that since the FCC doesn't classify Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers, it has no power to enforce unreasonable-discrimination and no-blocking rules.

On Feb. 19, the FCC issued a Public Notice and with it established, it said, a "new docket within which to consider how the Commission should proceed in light of the court's guidance in the Verizon v. FCC opinion."

In its decision, the court invited the FCC to "act to preserve free and open Internet," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.

"I intend to accept that invitation by proposing rules that will meet the court's test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among Internet traffic, ensuring genuine transparency in how Internet Service Providers manage traffic, and enhancing competition."

Preserving an open Internet, he added, "is an important responsibility of this agency."

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai also released a statement on his feelings about the new docket.

When the court made its announcement in January, Pai recommended that the Commission swallow the ruling and "refrain from any further attempt to micromanage how broadband providers run their networks."

Once again, he came out against further action.