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Net neutrality ruling fallout begins

It's the FCC's move
Thu Jan 16 2014, 13:56

NET NEUTRALITY OPPONENT Verizon has released a statement following this week's shocking court decision to grant its appeal.

The Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favour of the telecoms company's argument that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could not apply its rules regulating telecommunication services to internet service providers (ISPs), which, by its own decision are classed as "information services".

Verizon's statement, however, assured the public that nothing will change as a result of the ruling, giving rise to the question of why it was willing to spend the money to pursue a court case.

It said, "One thing is for sure: Today's decision will not change consumers' ability to access and use the internet as they do now. The court's decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the internet.

"Verizon has been and remains committed to the open internet, which provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where and how they want. This will not change in light of the court's decision.

AT&T, the biggest landline provider in the US and a Verizon competitor also commented on the ruling. Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive VP of external and legislative affairs told reporters, "AT&T has been committed to the open Internet since our endorsement of the FCC's statement of internet freedoms in 2004.

"We worked constructively to help craft the FCC's net neutrality rule, and testified in support of it in the Congress. As the FCC assesses the impact of today's court decision, AT&T can assure all of our customers and stakeholders that our commitment to protect and maintain an open internet will not change."

Meanwhile, in a statement to Reuters , a press officer at the White House said, "The President remains committed to an open internet, where consumers are free to choose the websites they want to visit and the online services they want to use, and where online innovators are allowed to compete on a level playing field based on the quality of their products."

Verizon sued the FCC over its net neutrality rules in early 2011, but the case was thrown out because the rules had not been written into regulations. It refiled the lawsuit once the regulations were written, but the initial court decision was favour of the FCC.

So far the FCC has not given any indication of its plans and whether it will appeal the ruling, however Verizon's successful appeal could lead to internet traffic shaping that gives priority to the highest bidder, even if that slows down the rest of the internet. µ


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