The internet in the US is to remain neutral for the foreseeable future thanks to a court ruling by the circuit court in the District of Columbia, on Tuesday regarding the ongoing battle for net neutrality
The new ruling essentially upholds the current status quo ensuring that federal regulators can have strict oversight over the internet and ensure that all internet users are treated equally when it comes to the free flow of information.
A three strong panel of judges on the Appeals court dismissed the arguments put forward by AT&T Inc. and others that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) had gone beyond its authority in approving net neutrality regulations in 2015.
The battle for net neutrality is far from over however. The decade long fight over who should control the internet is set to end up in the Supreme court, assuming the Supreme court will choose to hear the case.
Meanwhile, Internet companies such as Google and Netflix, gave their sound approval to the decision saying it had given the ability to the FCC to prevent the providers of broadband from deciding what could and couldn’t be available for consumers in terms of online content.
“We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal,” AT&T General Counsel David McAfee said.
The FCC chairman, Democrat, Tom Wheeler, who had pushed the current FCC regulations, with strong and vocal backing from President Obama said the court decision was “a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire Web.”
At the heart of the case is the FCC’s reclassification of ISPs so that they can be regulated in the same way as other utility companies, preventing the creation of a 2 tier internet that would allow ISPs to decide what type and the speed of that information could be allowed through their networks.