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Yet another official rejection of net neutrality -- by US Court of Appeals

It's important to highlight yet another official/legal repudiation of the net neutrality movement's common carrier regulation agenda.

  • As reported by Comm Daily yesterday, but largely ignored by the mainstream press, the U.S. Appeals Court 3rd circuit, upheld the FCC's decision to classify DSL as a competitive "information service" and not a common carrier telecom service potentially subject to net neutrality regulations.

Why is this important?

  • It was this very FCC decision made in August 2005 that net neutrality supporters made their rallying cry for new net neutrality legislation!
  • This August 2005 FCC decision implemented the Supreme Court's earlier "Brand X" decision, which affirmed that cable modems were appropriately classified by the FCC as an un-regulated competitive "information service."
  • In addition to applying the "Brand X" cable modem info services classification on DSL, the FCC has also applied it consistently to other functionally-equivalent broadband technologies: wireless broadband service and Broadband over power line service.

The significance of this appeals court affirmation of the legitimacy of the FCC's highly-market-successful broadband deregulation policy is that the legal precedents for maintaining broadband as an unregulated competitive service are piling up and becoming extremely difficult to reverse in the future.

  • Without seeing overwhelming evidence to the contrary, future courts will strongly defend these Supreme Court/Appeals Court precedents and oppose weakly justified policy changes advancing common carrier net neutrality rules that are not supported by the facts -- as "arbitrary and capricious."

In addition, any future administration/FCC would have to come up with overwhelming new documentary evidence that the current administration/FCC/FTC/DOJ policy supporting broadband deregulation/competition is not working and warrants change.

  • Bottom line: Net neutrality proponents will have to change the law to get their way and that is highly unlikely to occur.