RealTime IT News

Court Voids FCC's Comcast Net Neutrality Order

This was the verdict net neutrality opponents were waiting for. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission stepped outside its authority when it rebuked Comcast in 2008 for throttling peer-to-peer traffic on its network.

But the ruling could span well beyond Comcast's network practices. Many advocates on both sides of the net neutrality debate agree that the ruling substantially undercuts the FCC's regulatory oversight of the Internet, though they don't agree on much else.

So what's next? The FCC could continue with its existing net neutrality proceeding, or it could appeal the court's ruling, though the outcome of either of those scenarios is highly uncertain.

The next battleground? It could be Congress, or at the FCC itself if it moves to reclassify broadband as a regulated service like wireline telephone. Enterprise Networking Planet takes a look.

A federal appeals court has struck down the Federal Communications Commission's order censuring Comcast for secretly blocking traffic on its network, dealing a major blow to the commission's regulatory authority over the Internet just as it sets out on implementing its ambitious 10-year broadband plan.

In a unanimous ruling, the three-judge panel held that the commission exceeded its so-called "ancillary authority," a term referring to a regulatory mandate implied -- but not expressly stated -- in statute.

"The commission may exercise this 'ancillary' authority only if it demonstrates that its action -- here barring Comcast from interfering with its customers' use of peer-to-peer networking applications -- is 'reasonably ancillary to the ... effective performance of its statutorily mandated responsibilities,'" Judge David Tatel wrote in the court's ruling, citing an earlier Circuit Court decision in a 2005 case. "The commission has failed to make that showing."

Read the full story at Enterprise Networking Planet:
Court Strikes Down FCC Ruling on Comcast