US Court: FCC can't force net neutrality on ISPs

By on April 6, 2010, 3:32 PM
Proponents of net neutrality suffered a loss today as a US federal court ruled that the FCC can't force ISPs to treat all network activity equally. The decision marks a major setback for the FCC, which is attempting to emplace official net neutrality regulations.

The case stems back to fall of 2007, when Comcast began interfering with its customers' use of BitTorrent. When the company's actions were exposed, the FCC ordered Comcast to stop discriminating against P2P traffic in early 2008. The Internet provider responded with a lawsuit.

Comcast said that its move to block P2P traffic was "necessary to manage scarce network capacity," but the FCC found that the company had "significantly impeded consumers' ability to access the content and use the applications of their choice."

The court's decision could potentially complicate the FCC's future plans as it shifts to an agency that is more focused on Internet.




User Comments: 5

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TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well hell. For once the FCC was doing something I agree with and it get shot down

matrix86 matrix86 said:

I agree with you, Tortured. Telling me what I can and cannot do is the reason why i'm not with Comcast (well...that and their ridiculous prices).

LightHeart said:

Checks and Balances

The FCC does not have the power nor authority to regulate providers and impose fines. In other words Congress must pass laws or provide that authority to deal with this type of regulation. If this were not the case, any Commission could simply impose there own rules and associated fines. This is not a case if Comcast is right/wrong but a case of what the FCC is allowed to do by law. Checks and Balances.

MrAnderson said:

It is a setback indeed, but since the FCC cannot (by this judgement) force ISPs regarding network, then they need to enforce no monopolies on the network. Many ISPs have a stronghold on regions and are the the only game around. This makes it easy for them to continue policies and they can do whatever they want in terms of service. People will be forced to just deal with it becasue they don't have an alternative. This needs to stop.

The data networks need to be opened the same way our phone systems are. To be fair, the government should grant funds to help develop this general data network. I'm sure they will claim incompatabilities... that is why they need to work on standardizing and building a road map for upgrades. Services can be based around the network and not the network being the thing on sale.

We will then be able to choose your ISP based on how they handle the neutrality issue. For example, you might find a service provider that caters to normal web browsing and video streaming, or a subscription for download and uploading heavy trafic, and you can have both those services. That does not sound so bad...

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

The data networks need to be opened the same way our phone systems are. To be fair, the government should grant funds to help develop this general data network. I'm sure they will claim incompatabilities... that is why they need to work on standardizing and building a road map for upgrades. Services can be based around the network and not the network being the thing on sale.

I didn't look too hard on finding a real source, but in the 90s (and 80s?) phone companies in the US got a lot of government money (or was it tax breaks, or both?) to run fiber to everyone. This didn't happen and they kept the money, so I'm not sure the government granting funds is the best approach unless there is some stronger guarantee that the money has to be used for that.

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