Author: Bethany Patterson
In a major win for the free and open internet, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order in a ruling today.
The Court affirmed the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband as an information service, rather than a telecommunications service. This reclassification protects the internet from onerous Title II, public utility-style rules that would harm the economy and American innovation.
These reforms have been beneficial to the internet and economy as a whole, leading to greater investment in and deployment of broadband. And despite what the naysayers claimed, the FCC’s decision to revoke Title II restrictions has not killed the internet.
Quite to the contrary. Since the FCC’s Order, investment in broadband has gone up by $3 billion, small cell deployment has increased for some carriers by as much as 800 percent and the internet has sped up by nearly 40 percent. These reforms will also help the United States win the 5G race.
And while some Title II proponents are cheering the Court’s decision to remand some issues back to the FCC, it clarified that the agency can preempt practices that are in conflict with the 2018 Order on a case-by-case basis.
In other words, this ruling does not give states free reign to resurrect disastrous Title II regulations.
As FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said, “A free and open internet is what we have today and what we’ll continue to have moving forward.”
He’s right, and the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision today will help fulfill this.