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Net neutrality withstands legal challenge

TechCrunch TechCrunch 14/06/2016 Kate Conger

Net neutrality won yet another legal victory today when a federal appeals court upheld Federal Communications Commission rules that prohibit data throttling online. But the fight for net neutrality isn’t over yet — representatives from service providers like AT&T have already suggested that they’ll appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

Net neutrality has pitted the FCC and civil society groups against internet service providers, with the former arguing that data throttling must be prevented and the latter claiming that the FCC’s rules are choking the development of network infrastructure. Net neutrality has also split supporters and opponents along party lines — President Barack Obama and other Democrats have backed net neutrality while Republicans have opposed it.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals supported the FCC’s rules in a 2-1 vote, Politico reports.

“After a decade of debate & legal battles, today’s ruling affirms FCC’s ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler tweeted. “Today’s #NetNeutrality ruling will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future for both fixed and mobile.” Wheeler has championed the cause of net neutrality at the FCC.

Several senators also celebrated the victory, including Senator Bernie Sanders, who said the ruling would “help ensure we don’t turn over our democracy to the highest bidder.”

“Today’s ruling is the biggest win in our fight for the open internet,” Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement. “It’s a win for Americans, for free speech and education, and for our start-ups and economy. This win comes as the result of years of hard work and advocacy and the FCC listening to the constant drumbeat of millions of Americans demanding the strongest net neutrality rules ever.”

AT&T told Politico that it would continue to fight the decision, taking its case before the Supreme Court if necessary.

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