Loss in court casts in doubt status of Web watchdog
Here's what appeared in the paper today.
By Cecilia Kang
A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to force Internet service providers to keep their networks open to all forms of content, throwing into doubt the agency's status as watchdog of the Web.
The FCC has long sought to impose rules requiring Internet providers to offer equal treatment to all Web traffic, a concept known as network neutrality. But in a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the agency lacked the power to stop cable giant Comcast from slowing traffic to a popular file-sharing site.
Although the Comcast case centered on the issue of network neutrality, the court's ruling could hamper other initiatives, including the Obama administration's ambitious plans to expand high-speed Internet service nationwide and the agency's enforcement of new truth-in-advertising rules on broadband speeds promised by carriers.
Analysts said the decision in effect removes a government enforcer that otherwise would prevent a company such as Comcast from blocking the Hulu or YouTube video sites from its network, analysts said.
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