Tuesday, January 14, 2014

DC Court of Appeals strikes down FCC's network neutrality rules because telecomm's aren't considered "common carriers"; a dangerous idea?

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has ruled (in Verizon v. FCC and Independent Telephone)  that the Federal Communications Commission may not enforce “net neutrality” since the FCC doesn’t classify broadband providers as “common carriers”.  It would sound conceivable that the FCC could decide to do so.
The PDF for the ruling is here
CNET has a detailed story by Marguerite Reardon here

Gigi Sohn explains Common Carriage in this video: 
If telecommunications companies are not indeed “common carriers”, it would sound down the road that the legal basis for Section 230 downstream liability protection could be imperiled. 
Supporters of network neutrality say that major providers could impose fees for tiered service, and could charge competitors for specific products (like streaming movie video) more even if those competitors offered more content.

This reminds me of another problem, that mobile users are locked into contracts when they find out that competitors in other parts of the country can offer better service if they find out they need to travel to those areas.  

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