A federal appeals court gave a mixed ruling on Internet access regulations yesterday. The DC Circuit Court affirmed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authority to create open-access rules. But in a setback for the Obama administration's goal of Internet openness, the court ruled that the FCC failed to establish that its 2010 regulations don't overreach.
Some consumer advocates are wringing their hands over the decision. "[The] ruling means that Internet users will be pitted against the biggest phone and cable companies - and in the absence of any oversight, these companies can now block and discriminate against their customers' communications at will," according to Craig Aaron of Free Press.
Jeffrey Eisenach of the American Enterprise Institute think tank has a different take. He writes, "While the Court's discussion of Internet economics leaves much to be desired, its ultimate conclusion -- which leaves in place the freedom to innovate which has applied to the Internet since its inception -- is good for consumers, for innovation and for economic growth."
What does this mean for your Netflix, HBO GO, iTunes and the like? How soon could changes occur, if at all? Will this case make it to the Supreme Court? Who has the knowledge to make a tech-savvy ruling?
With files from the Associated Press.
Roslyn Layton, Visiting Fellow, Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy at the American Enterprise Institute - a think tank focused on free enterprise
Craig Aaron, President and CEO of Free Press - described as a nonpartisan organization building a nationwide movement for media that serve the public interest