Friday, June 19, 2015

208.1 - Good News: Net neutrality upheld in first court case

Good News: Net neutrality upheld in first court case

Let's start the week, as I usually manage to do, with some Good News.

I've spoken several times about Net neutrality, the principle that all traffic across the internet is treated equally, with no privileged treatment, no "fast lanes," for those with the means to cough up extra bucks. A couple of months ago, the public interest scored big when the FCC reclassified broadband as a public utility subject to regulation just like regular landline telephone service, empowering the FCC to set rules for Net neutrality, which it did on February 26. The rules were formally announced in April, scheduled to go into effect on June 12.

And of course as soon as they came out, also came the corporate-funded suits to toss out the rules.

As part of that, they wanted the courts to issue a stay enjoining the FCC from enforcing the rules while the case proceeded.

The good news is that on June 11, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia flatly refused to do so, finding that the corporations and their trade associations had failed to meet the requirements for such a stay, which included proving irreparable harm from the rules' implementation. Put another way, the corporations could not show how they would be harmed by having the rules go into effect. So the rules went into effect, on schedule, on June 12.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, his past life as a lobbyist for the telecommunications industry (perhaps) safely behind him, called the ruling a huge victory for Internet consumers. Which it is: Net neutrality is now the law. And, as often happens on those rare occasions when we rein in the corporations, time will surely reveal that all the predictions of disaster that are always the cry of the corporations will prove to be vapor. And that is good news.

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