Back in court, FCC defends net neutrality from internet providers

ARIK HESSELDAHL, Senior Editor, Re/code: The original intent is whether or not the FCC has the authority to regulate the Internet as a utility.

Basically, what they did was, after a series of other challenges in court and legislative wrangling and policy-making, they decided to use their ability, the same legal authority they have to regulate the dial tone, the old telephone system, to regulate the Internet.

So, essentially, the Internet is now considered a telecommunications service, rather than the service providers, whether they’re Verizon, AT&T, or whoever, as an information service provider. And that’s just a — it’s a little bit of legal jujitsu, but what it really comes down to is that the service providers want the ability to regulate what kind of data flows on their network.

And they want the ability to, in theory, give some preferential treatment to packets that they favor and packets that they don’t. The classic example is, say, Netflix. In an age when people are buying fewer or paying less — less likely to be paying for cable or satellite TV services than watching over the Internet, if you’re Hulu or Netflix or someone like that, you don’t want those — you don’t want a cable company that may also have a video-on-demand service to control whether or not your customers can watch your content, if you’re Hulu or Netflix.

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Camilla Wood

UK based Legal Aid Lawyer

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