Comcast Victory Against FCC Deals Setback to Net Neutrality

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) decision to sanction Comcast for slowing the Internet service of certain users.  Comcast’s practice, known as “throttling,” targets users of peer-to-peer file sharing programs that occupy immense amounts of Comcast’s bandwidth.  The Court ruled that the FCC did not have the authority from Congress to impose the sanction under Title I of the Communications Act, which allows the FCC to regulate “information” services.  Comcast’s victory appears to be a blow to the FCC’s promotion of Net Neutrality, which requires Internet services to be content neutral.  The FCC’s lack of authority to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) seemingly clears the way for ISPs to begin charging for certain content, much as a cable television provider would.  However, it is expected that the FCC will seek to reclassify ISPs as “telecommunications” providers under Title II of the Communications Act, which, if successful, would grant the FCC the authority to regulate ISPs. (decision)