Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC's Internet Broadband Rules

Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC's Internet Broadband Rules
January 15, 2014

Verizon Communications has won its challenge to U.S. open-Internet regulations as an appeals court ruled against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), saying the agency's restrictions have no basis in federal law.

As reported by Bloomberg, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. sent the rules back to the FCC, which may now attempt to rewrite the regulations that bar companies from slowing or blocking some Internet traffic.

The FCC is trying to regulate Verizon and other companies that supply broadband Internet service under a statute that doesn't apply, according to Circuit Judge David Tatel.

"Given that the commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the commission from nonetheless regulating them as such," Tatel wrote.

The FCC rule required companies that provide businesses and consumers high-speed Internet service over wires to treat all traffic equally. With the regulation voided, companies such as Google and Amazon.com could face new charges for fast connections.

The ruling could set the stage for a contentious bid by the FCC to try again to write rules, this time relying on a part of the law written decades ago to regulate monopoly telephone service.

In a statement, FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn said that "We must ensure that consumers do not become casualties in our efforts to balance competing interests. Our actions should preserve consumer access to content of their choice, and our policies should advance competition, investment and innovation. The FCC's public interest obligation requires us to seek solutions that are guided by these principles. I look forward to working with Chairman Wheeler on next steps."

Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

You've finally filled out all the paperwork for a new or used car and drive it off the lot in triumph. Then, only a few hours (or days or weeks) later, the dealer calls you and tells you that you have to return the car because your financing didn't go through. What's going on? Is this legal? No.

According to the scam alert released by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers are targeting unsuspecting consumers across the country by impersonating cable companies and taking advantage of subscribers' eagerness to save money on cable television services.

Do you know how to protect yourself against computer fraud? Most people think they can spot a scam, but scammers are getting better every day. It's now sometimes very difficult to know who is on the other end of the Internet and whether an email or website is truly legitimate.

We use our phones to do all kinds of things. But those who use USB charging stations may want to think twice before checking off the first two items on that list. Security researchers have discovered a way to hack into smartphones using USB stations and view and record everything that is displayed on the screen.