Reuters is reporting that a U.S. appeals court has refused to revisit an October ruling that upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality.
In 2017, the FCC repealed net neutrality rules that had been implemented under the Obama administration. The net neutrality rules prohibited companies from blocking or throttling traffic, or charging extra for so called “fast lanes.” Without net neutrality, companies like Comcast—which provides internet service and owns cable TV channels and a movie studio—could throttle traffic to competing companies, such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. Alternatively, companies could charge more to access those competing services.
Such a scenario would end up being costly to consumers and could unfairly prevent media startups from having a chance of success. After all, if consumers can’t access their sites, apps or services without paying more, new companies may be doomed from the get-go.
As a result, consumer groups, industry groups and tech companies all opposed the repeal, warning of the potentially disastrous consequences. Today’s ruling, however, represents a big win for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who pushed for the repeal.
Now, net neutrality’s future is in the hands of individual states, some of whom have already passed their own rules. While the FCC initially said states could not pass net neutrality laws on their own, the October ruling said the FCC overstepped and had no authority to prevent states from taking such measures.