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FCC Defends Net Neutrality In Court As ISPs Continue To Challenge Its Authority

7 December 2015, 4:35 am EST By Dave Calpito Tech Times
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Google, Facebook and Amazon stage 'day of action' protest in favour of net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission is compelled to defend its regulations on net neutrality in the court in opposition to Internet service providers questioning the new rules.

The hearing kicked off on Friday, Dec. 4, in which the FCC defended its broadband regulations meant at putting a stop to favoritism on the Internet before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The agency pushed out the new policy reclassifying broadband Internet providers as being "common carriers" under the Title II of the Communications Act way back February. The new agency's regulations could permit the government to control these providers akin to telephone firms or other industries.

Folks from the broadband industry refused to go along with the new rules. The U.S. Telecom Association filed a court case against the FCC in July, arguing that the agency did not have the power to pass rules with no approval from the congress. Furthermore, they say the neutrality rules should be overturned as the FCC unlawfully reclassified broadband as a utility-like service.

CTIA – The Wireless Association said that with the FCC's regulations, rather than allowing clients to decide "the success of new, innovative mobile service, government bureaucrats will now play that role." ISPs likewise claim that these rules will throttle innovation and investment.

The FCC defended the regulations before a panel of judges, including David S. Tatel, Stephen F. Williams and Sri Srinivasan.

A report by The Hill implies that Tatel and Srinivasan may lean toward the FCC while Williams may favor the carriers.

Tatel, for instance, repeatedly cited a Supreme Court decision; referred to as Brand X, back in 2005. In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the FCC had the authority to make a choice whether or not broadband is deemed as a telecommunications service. Interestingly, Tatel wrote last year the decision to strike down network neutrality.

A court decision is anticipated to be released in the spring. When the agency wins, cable and telecom firms could appeal this case to the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, should the debatable TransPacific Partnership trade deal passes, a few legal specialists are convinced that the FCC may obtain the authority to put in force net neutrality.

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