Ruling threatens an ‘open’ Internet


Edward Wyatt
The Columbus Dispatch
April 7, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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A federal appeals court dealt a sharp blow yesterday to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to set the rules of the road for the Internet, ruling that the agency lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit addressed the efforts of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable-television provider, to slow customers’ access to a service called BitTorrent, which consumers use to exchange large video files, most often pirated copies of movies.

After Comcast’s blocking was exposed, the FCC told the company to stop discriminating against BitTorrent traffic. In 2008, the FCC issued broader rules for the industry regarding “net neutrality,” the principle that all Internet content should be treated equally by network providers.

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