Appeals court backs FCC Net Neutrality position; allows states to introduce own rules

2 Oct 2019

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a mixed ruling on Net Neutrality yesterday (Tuesday 1 October), allowing the December 2017 repeal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stand, but dismissing a provision blocking states from implementing their own open internet rules. Following the appeal – which had been argued by internet firm Mozilla Corporation on 1 February 2019 – the three-judge panel said that they had found the challengers’ arguments to be largely unpersuasive. However, the judges delivered a blow to the FCC by ruling it had exceeded its legal authority by seeking to block states from passing their own Net Neutrality rules, as many did in a backlash to the FCC’s repeal.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the FCC plan to repeal Net Neutrality rules was approved in December 2017, following a 3-2 vote – split along Republican-Democrat party lines. As such, the FCC’s ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Order’ took effect on 11 June 2018, scrapping the Title II rules and reverting internet services to their Title I ‘information service’ status. The June 2018 order removed mandates which previously prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise prioritising online content.

United States, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)