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D.C. Circuit Hears Arguments in Net Neutrality Case

WASHINGTON - On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments in Verizon v. FCC — the landmark case on the Federal Communications Commission's open Internet rules.

In December 2010, the FCC approved its Open Internet Order, which established limited protections preventing Internet service providers from interfering with online traffic. Shortly thereafter, Verizon challenged the order, claiming the FCC lacked the authority to issue the rules.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

“Today in the courtroom, all three judges seemed to agree that the FCC has some authority over broadband Internet access services, but they questioned the framework that the agency used to get there.

“We’ve said all along that the FCC should fix the mistakes it made a decade ago and put Internet access and broadband telecommunications back under the regulatory framework that Congress intended. This case is not the end of the line for the FCC or the Open Internet rules, but it should be the end of the line for this compromised legal approach that strands Internet access services in a regulatory twilight zone.

“Regardless of this case’s outcome, the American people need an open and public communications network and a strong agency that protects the public from abusive corporate practices. If the FCC abdicates that broader role, there will be serious negative consequences for consumers, competition and innovation.”

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