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District court rules there’s nothing neutral about the Net

A federal court ruled against the FCC in its case against Comcast
A federal court ruled against the FCC in its case against Comcast
Tim Boyle/Getty images

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The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan envisioned almost universal access to broadband internet through the cooperation and regulation of the broadband companies who had built up the internet infrastructure of the past two decades. Today the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals dealt a serious blow to this plan when it ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all internet traffic flowing over their networks. The case involved the efforts of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, to slow down customers’ access to a download service called BitTorrent. The FCC intervened to order Comcast to knock it off, Comcast appealed and they won—and with that win the very idea of universal broadband access might be in jeopardy. What is the future of net neutrality?


S. Derek Turner, research director for Free Press

Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute