How the Internet Was Saved… and Why the Battle Continues

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//Annenberg Assistant Professor Victor Pickard discusses the FCC’s February 2015 decision to pass strong net neutrality rules. This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post and can be accessed here

Last week’s historic decision by the FCC to pass strong net neutrality protections is both closure to a 13-year-long struggle and an opening salvo for battles to come. In one of the most important public interest decisions in American media policy history, the FCC, in a 3-2 party-line vote, reclassified broadband as a common carrier telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act.

What this means is that the FCC now has the regulatory authority to prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against (blocking or slowing down) online content or creating fast and slow lanes based on whether content creators can afford to pay up. This is a big deal, and the excitement is warranted. But potential threats abound.

In the near term, we should expect continued court challenges and efforts from the Republican-led Congress to undercut the FCC’s regulatory authority if not seek outright reversal. We have yet to see the final wording of the ruling, but potential litigants are reportedly lawyering up for judicial review, and AT&T has already announced its intent to sue. Beyond the decision being vacated by a court or Congress, a future reversal from a Republican-led FCC is also possible.

And even preserving net neutrality will not come close to solving our many Internet problems like…

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