Proponents of net neutrality were dealt a harsh blow last week when a U.S. appeals court ruled that the FCC could not stop Comcast from slowing service on peer-to-peer file sharing site BitTorrent. The unanimous written decision from the judges never rebukes net neutrality philosophically, but claims the FCC overstepped its powers in the realm of broadband regulation.
In all likelihood, Comcast’s victory will be the catalyst for a larger showdown that could play out in one of two ways. In the first scenario, the FCC will push back by redefining broadband as a Title II service and reassert it’s right to enforce net neutrality. Doing so would require the FCC to make a compelling argument for the switch and could be met by a challenge from the Telecommunications and Cable industries that would take the issue back to the courts — possibly to the Supreme Court eventually. A second scenario, and perhaps the more appropriate solution, is that Congress directly defines the FCC’s authority (or lack there of) in the realm of broadband regulation. Continue reading “A temporary setback for net neutrality”