An old workaround bites back. Seems little alternative but to classify broadband as a utility.
In a decision signed by two judges and joined in part by a third, the appeals court acknowledged that the F.C.C. has the authority “to promulgate rules governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic.”
But because, several years ago, the F.C.C. classified Internet service as an “information service” rather than as a “telecommunications service” – the designation given to telephone service – the commission’s so-called net neutrality rules were invalid.
“Given that the commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers” – that is, telephone companies – “the Communications Act expressly prohibits the commission from nonetheless regulating them as such,” the court wrote.
“Because the commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations,” the decision said, “we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order.”