Update: Court rules against FCC's Comcast net neutrality decision
IDG News Service - A U.S. appeals court has ruled that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to order Comcast to stop throttling peer-to-peer traffic in the name of network management.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in an order Tuesday, overturned the FCC's August 2008 ruling forcing Comcast to abandon its network management efforts aimed at users of the BitTorrent p-to-p service and other applications. The FCC lacked "any statutorily mandated responsibility" to enforce network neutrality rules, wrote Judge David Tatel.
Some net neutrality advocates said the ruling raises broad questions about the FCC's authority to take any actions not spelled out in law.
FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard downplayed the broader implications of the ruling. The agency will move forward with new efforts to create net neutrality rules, and it will have a "solid legal foundation," she said.
"Today's court decision invalidated the prior commission's approach to preserving an open Internet," Howard said. "But the court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end."
The FCC's 3-2 vote to enforce a set of net neutrality principles came after news reports in late 2007 that Comcast was slowing BitTorrent traffic for many customers. Comcast first denied it was throttling traffic, then said it was doing so only to protect customers from network congestion.
The appeals court ruling may call into question the FCC's authority to move forward with formal net neutrality rules. The FCC in October launched a rulemaking process to formalize the net neutrality principles in place since 2005, and Thursday is the deadline for reply comments in that rulemaking proceeding.
The FCC did not make convincing arguments that it has so-called "ancillary authority" to regulate cable broadband service, which the agency classified as a lightly regulated information service in 2002, Tatel wrote.
Unless the FCC takes action to reclassify broadband service, the court's decision calls into question FCC authority in many areas, including protecting broadband consumer privacy and redirecting money from the Universal Service Fund (USF) into broadband deployment, said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a digital rights group that complained to the FCC about Comcast's traffic throttling.
"Today's appeals court decision means there are no protections in the law for consumers' broadband services," Sohn said in a statement. "Companies selling Internet access are free to play favorites with content on their networks, to throttle certain applications or simply to block others."
This pilot fish is a contractor at a military base, working on some very cool fire-control systems for tanks. But when he spots something obviously wrong during a live-fire test, he can't get the firing-range commander's attention.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Reduce federal infrastructure risk with compliance management and situational awareness
- IBM continuous monitoring and management solutions deliver real-time situational awareness to help federal agencies understand vulnerabilities, and protect the infrastructure.
- The Business Value of Continuous Delivery
- Download this whitepaper to learn more about the business value of Continuous Delivery and see why it could be a game changer for...
- Ten Factors Shaping the Future of Application Delivery
- Download this research report conducted by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) to learn how those that are seeking to accelerate application delivery are leveraging...
- Software Asset Management: Ensuring Today's Assets
- Today's trends like BYOD and SaaS are new and exciting in terms of how they will help make our jobs more productive but...
- Trends Shaping Software Management: 2014
- Most IT executives recognize the relationship between mobile computing and worker productivity, and have long issued notebook computers and other mobile devices to... All Government IT White Papers
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- IBM FlashSystem V840: Leveraging Software-Defined Flash to Drive Your Business With end-to-end, tightly integrated functionality and super-fast flash technology, products like IBM FlashSystem V840 Enterprise Performance Solution empower businesses to leverage the efficiency...
- Leveraging Flash Storage to Accelerate Oracle Real Application Clusters Join this webinar to understand the latest solid-state storage trends, the specific applications driving solid-state storage deployments and the benefits of deploying the...
- All Government IT Webcasts