This might get unnoticed, but it shouldn’t. It will have long-standing repercussions about the Internet:
WASHINGTON — High-speed internet service can be defined as a utility, a federal court has ruled, in a sweeping decision clearing the way for more rigorous policing of broadband providers and greater protections for web users.
The two-to-one decision from a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday came in a case about rules applying to a doctrine known as net neutrality, which prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing the delivery of internet content to consumers.
Those rules, created by the Federal Communications Commission in early 2015, started a huge legal battle as cable, telecom and wireless internet providers sued to overturn regulations that they said went far beyond the F.C.C.’s authority and would hurt their businesses.
The court’s decision upheld the F.C.C. on the historic declaration of broadband as a utility, the most significant aspect of the rules. That has broad-reaching implications for web and telecommunications companies and signals a shift in the government’s view of broadband as a service that should be equally accessible to all Americans, rather than a luxury that does not need close government supervision.
What the internet providers (and some Republicans) wanted to do was to basically treat some Internet data as “more important” than others. They could charge higher rates to, say, CNN, so that CNN would get on a faster lane to your computer than say, a blog.
But this ruling allows the FCC to promulgate and enforce rules that will allow all Internet data to be treated equally (hence, net neutrality). Had the service providers got their way, the Internet would look VERY different.