A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down regulations that require Internet providers to treat all traffic the same, dealing a potentially fatal blow to President Obama’s push for “net neutrality.”
Opponents of the rules, led by plaintiff Verizon, hailed the decision from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals as a victory over government meddling in the marketplace.
“The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet,” said Randal Milch, Verizon’s executive vice president of public policy.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), one of the biggest opponents of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules in Congress, applauded the court for striking down “socialistic regulations.”
The powerful D.C. court overturned provisions that keep Internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to certain websites. With the rules no longer in place, telecom companies will be free to charge popular sites like Google, Facebook and Netflix for different speeds.
With one stroke, the court erased the central achievement of former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who labored through Obama’s first term to fulfill a 2008 campaign pledge.
The White House said the president “remains committed to an open Internet” that allows companies “to compete on a level playing field.”