Federal Court Allows FCC to Deregulate the Internet
Article from Reason by Peter Suderman.
Today, by a 2-1 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided largely with the FCC, upholding the primary regulatory rollback as a valid exercise of its authority. In the nearly 200 page opinion, which is heavy on technical detail, the court wrote that while the challengers raised “numerous objections” aiming to show that the FCC’s reclassification is “unreasonable,” the judges found them “unconvincing.”
The court raised several smaller issues related to public safety and “the regulation of pole attachments,” and allowed for the possibility that states might implement their own net neutrality regulations. California has already enacted such a law, but had suspended enforcement pending the outcome of this case. And the court cautioned that its judgment was not an endorsement of the policy decision on the merits, but a judgment about its legality.
The evidence for the Trump FCC’s decision to roll back the Obama administration’s regulatory expansion, however, is in the state of the internet itself: Broadband speeds are up, and the United States leads the world in overall data traffic. The internet, while imperfect, has not become the sluggish, apocalyptic, dysfunctional mess that net neutrality backers warned.
And while it is true that large tech companies have, in some cases, suppressed the expression of certain political ideas on their online platforms, that suppression—which is not, strictly speaking, censorship in the First Amendment sense, and is legal—has tended to come from social media companies who supported some form of net neutrality.
Read the entire article at Reason.