A U.S. court of appeals has ruled largely in favor of the Federal Communications Commission's decision to repeal the Obama administration's net neutrality regulations, which treated internet service providers as utilities.
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The federal appeals court's decision upheld the FCC's reclassification of broadband Internet access service as an information service, rather than as a telecommunications service, but argued that states can pass their own net neutrality legislation.
It’s seen as a victory for Internet service providers, such as AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Comcast Corp.
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In a statement released following Thursday’s ruling, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the decision "a victory for consumers, broadband deployment, and the free and open Internet."
"The court affirmed the FCC’s decision to repeal 1930s utility-style regulation of the Internet imposed by the prior Administration," Pai said. "The court also upheld our robust transparency rule so that consumers can be fully informed about their online options. Since we adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, consumers have seen 40% faster speeds and millions more Americans have gained access to the Internet. A free and open Internet is what we have today and what we’ll continue to have moving forward."
The court made some exceptions to the FCC's decision. First, the court ruled that the commission does cannot bar states from imposing rules that the FCC had "repealed or decided to refrain from imposing." Senior FCC officials responded by noting that they could handle these issues on a case-by-case basis. The judges said the FCC failed to consider how its decision would affect public safety.
A senior official would not say Thursday what the commission's next steps would be.