Net Neutrality Goes To Court


The Federal Communications Commission decision to support Net Neutrality rules is in court today. Telecommunications companies and the government will be making oral arguments over whether the FCC has authority to define ISPs as common carriers under Title II’s definition of “telecommunications services.”

Judge David Tatel who has been the judge on every net neutrality case so far will hear those arguments along with two other judges.

Internet service providers say that the FCC could at some point start dictating prices under the current authority, which they say is unfair. So far the FCC has said it would abdicate that authority.

As DSL Reports has noted, ISPs are expected to use a range of arguments to make their case. To wit: “Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech,” Verizon claimed in their 2010 legal argument. Again, Verizon ultimately won that challenge not on Constitutional grounds, but because the FCC tried to apply common carrier rules on ISPs without first declaring them common carriers.”

Case observers expect that regardless of how the judges panel rules Net Neutrality will likely come before the Supreme Court.