A federal appeals court dealt a blow to 'Net Neutrality' supporters today by concluding that the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) lacks the legal authority to manage the network practices of internet service providers (ISPs).
The lawsuit between Comcast and the F.C.C. was triggered by customer discoveries that their ISP "was interfering with their use of peer-to-peer networking applications."
The F.C.C., in its administrative capacity, originally concluded that Comcast " significantly impeded consumers' ability to access the content and use the [Internet] applications of their choice."
Comcast argued that, as a private company, it had an obligation "to manage scarce network capacity" for its customers, blocking peer-to-peer (a/k/a P2P) file sharing programs that consume large amounts of telecommunications network traffic.
You can read the 'Net Neutrality' court opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit here:
- Comcast wins Web traffic court fight against FCC, Reuters (Apr. 6, 2010)
- Court Says F.C.C. Cannot Require Net Neutrality, New York Times (Apr. 6, 2010)
- Communications Act of 1934, FindLaw
- Net Neutrality, Google Public Policy Blog
- An Open Internet: FCC Moves Towards Net Neutrality, by Neetal Parekh, FindLaw Technologist (Oct. 26, 2009)