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U.S. renews ‘Open Internet’ push after court order

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U.S. regulators said Wednesday they would write new "open Internet" rules following a court ruling last month that struck down provisions aimed at barring providers from playing favorites for online services.

Federal Communications Commission officials said that even though the US appeals court invalidated the so-called "Net Neutrality" rules, the decision provided a "blueprint" for a new set of regulations.

"Preserving the Internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency," FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.

The FCC said it would not appeal the January 14 ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington, but instead craft new rules which achieve the goals of equal treatment for services offered over the Internet.

The "Net Neutrality" rules were aimed at preventing big telecom operators from blocking or slowing online offerings like Netflix or YouTube, while promoting services of their own partners.

The court decision was "an invitation for the commission to act to preserve and protect a free and open Internet," a senior FCC official told reporters in a telephone briefing.

The official said the ruling gives the FCC the ability to devise new rules with a more solid legal foundation, which guarantee equal access for so-called "edge providers" like Netflix.

The court used a narrow legal justification for striking down the 2010 rules, saying the FCC court not regulate broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T as "common carriers" or public utilities.

But Wheeler said the court affirmed the agency's "legal authority to issue enforceable rules of the road to preserve Internet freedom and openness."

"We now have from the DC Circuit (court) a blueprint for effective action," the senior FCC official said.

Verizon, which brought the lawsuit against the FCC, will not appeal the ruling either, a source familiar with the matter said.

Asked about the FCC initiative, Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said in an email, "Verizon remains committed to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want."

"We have always focused on providing our customers with the services and experience they want, and this focus has not changed," McFadden said.

U.S. regulators said Wednesday they would write new “open Internet” rules following a court ruling last month that struck down provisions aimed at barring providers from playing favorites for online services.

Federal Communications Commission officials said that even though the US appeals court invalidated the so-called “Net Neutrality” rules, the decision provided a “blueprint” for a new set of regulations.

“Preserving the Internet as an open platform for innovation and expression while providing certainty and predictability in the marketplace is an important responsibility of this agency,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.

The FCC said it would not appeal the January 14 ruling by the federal appeals court in Washington, but instead craft new rules which achieve the goals of equal treatment for services offered over the Internet.

The “Net Neutrality” rules were aimed at preventing big telecom operators from blocking or slowing online offerings like Netflix or YouTube, while promoting services of their own partners.

The court decision was “an invitation for the commission to act to preserve and protect a free and open Internet,” a senior FCC official told reporters in a telephone briefing.

The official said the ruling gives the FCC the ability to devise new rules with a more solid legal foundation, which guarantee equal access for so-called “edge providers” like Netflix.

The court used a narrow legal justification for striking down the 2010 rules, saying the FCC court not regulate broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T as “common carriers” or public utilities.

But Wheeler said the court affirmed the agency’s “legal authority to issue enforceable rules of the road to preserve Internet freedom and openness.”

“We now have from the DC Circuit (court) a blueprint for effective action,” the senior FCC official said.

Verizon, which brought the lawsuit against the FCC, will not appeal the ruling either, a source familiar with the matter said.

Asked about the FCC initiative, Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said in an email, “Verizon remains committed to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want.”

“We have always focused on providing our customers with the services and experience they want, and this focus has not changed,” McFadden said.

AFP
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