Court Strikes Blow to FCC’s Open Internet Rules

Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Federal Communication Commission’s Open Internet rules in its Verizon v. FCC ruling. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), which filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of First Amendment scholars, issued the following statement in response to the ruling:

“The court’s ruling is disappointing because it strikes down the key provisions that provided reasonable and basic protections for a vibrant, open Internet,” said David Sohn, CDT’s General Counsel.

“The good news is that the opinion also lays out exactly how the FCC essentially tied its own hands in the case, and makes it clear that the FCC has the power to fix the problem. The Court upheld the FCC’s general authority to issue rules aimed at spurring broadband deployment, and accepted the basic policy rationale for Internet neutrality as articulated by the FCC. The arguments in favor of Internet neutrality are as strong as ever, but prior FCC decisions on how to treat broadband have painted the agency into a corner. Those decisions are not set in stone, however, and the ball is now back in the FCC’s court. The FCC should reconsider its classification of broadband Internet access and reestablish its authority to enact necessary safeguards for Internet openness,” Sohn added.