US appeals court strikes down FCC's net neutrality rule

The court says the agency doesn't have the authority to regulate broadband

A U.S. appeals court has struck down the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit on Tuesday ruled that the FCC does not have the authority to implement the rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic. The FCC passed the net neutrality rules, also called open Internet rules, in December 2010, but Verizon Communications challenged the rules, saying Congress did not give the agency the authority to regulate broadband providers.

"We're disappointed that the court came to this conclusion," Craig Aaron, president and CEO of digital rights group Free Press, said in a statement. "Its ruling means that Internet users will be pitted against the biggest phone and cable companies -- and in the absence of any oversight, these companies can now block and discriminate against their customers' communications at will."

(More to follow.)

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Tags telecommunicationfree pressregulationlegalCivil lawsuitsU.S. Federal Communications CommissioninternetgovernmentCraig AaronU.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit

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