A 3 judge appeals panel will decide on Friday if the current FCC regulations regarding net neutrality legally hold up.
On Friday, a United States appeals court panel will decide and rule on the constitutionality of the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules. The court will decide on the legality of the rules and the case was pressed in court by AT&T along with cable and telecommunications trade organizations.
These rules were developed by President Obama’s administration and they declare that all electronic data has to be treated equally and that there can be no favoritism shown with regard to the data, reports Reuters. The rules established by the FCC have greatly annoyed such high speed providers as Comcast and Verizon. These companies, and many others like them, find the rules are too restricting and claim it makes it far more difficult to manage their overall web traffic. In addition, the companies claim that the rules offer little incentive for them to expand on their current capacities.
There are those companies like Yelp and Netflix that want to see the rules upheld legally because they would have trouble accessing a broader range of customers if the rules were declared illegal. They fear the major players would put them out of business. There are three judges sitting on the appeals court panel that will rule on the net neutrality rules.
The rules they will be judging on say that companies can’t prohibit “blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization” by any companies that provide broadband services. The FCC defends the rules by stating that open access to the internet works to actually improve the infrastructure of broadband and that, since the rules have been in place, various companies have invested around $230 billion in the internet in general.
The broadband companies are arguing that the FCC has labeled the internet as a “utility”. Their lawyers are arguing that doing so is like the FCC outlawing “land vehicles” and having it include boats. Legal pundits think the vote could really go either way. Congress has considered writing its own net neutrality laws but thus far have made no serious effort toward doing so.