Arguments were heard Friday in a challenge to the legality of the FCC’s net neutrality rules. Reuters reports that the case “may ultimately determine how consumers get access to content on the Internet.”
The case, U.S. Telecom Association, et al. v. FCC, et al., is being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
“The fight is the latest battle over Obama administration rules requiring broadband providers to treat all data equally, rather than giving or selling access to a so-called Web ‘fast lane,'” the story reports. “A three-judge panel, in a hearing that lasted over three hours, questioned lawyers for the FCC and broadband backers about whether the FCC properly extended the sweeping authority it has to regulate telecommunications to Internet service providers.”
The case pits broadband providers such as Verizon and Comcast against the FCC. The issue, according to Judge David Tatel, who is on the panel, is whether the FCC had the authority to reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications service rather than an information service, opening it up to more heavy regulation.
The report notes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled against the FCC twice since 2010, with Judge Tatel writing both opinions.
“Lawyers for the Internet service providers argued that because they exercise some control over functions like cached pages they met the burden as an information service provider, which would limit how extensively the FCC could impose net neutrality rules,” Reuters reports. “But the FCC said broadband providers were acting merely to transport data, not making content decisions.”