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US Court Backs Rules Treating Internet as Utility

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US Court Backs Rules Treating Internet as Utility

The decision puts broadband at the same level with the phone and electricity: an essential utility that should be available to all Americans, rather than a luxury.

The 2-to-1 decision thus upheld the FCC’s definition of broadband as a utility, which was the most significant aspect of the net neutrality rules it created in early 2015.

However, the cable and telecom industries have indicated that they would challenge any unfavourable decision, meaning that the legal process is likely to continue, possibly all the way to the Supreme Court.

The ruling opens the door for increased regulation in limiting broadband provides’ activities. The FCC has already proposed rules that would restrain ISPs abilities to collect and use their clients’ data.

Representatives of civil society and tech firms welcomed the decision, saying it would be helpful to start-ups lacking the funds to fight against gatekeepers of the web.

The two judges who ruled in FCC’s favour stressed the important role the internet has as a communications and information platform for consumers.

The disserting judge called the rules an “unreasoned patchwork”, claiming that it will discourage competition in the broadband industry.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2016-06-15 19:30

Author information

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