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Court case renews debate on US ‘Open Internet’ rules

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Posted September 16, 2013

Debate is back on in Washington on US regulations on “net neutrality” which bar Internet broadband providers from blocking or discriminating against services or content.

A court case for which arguments were held this month brought by Verizon, one of the largest Internet service providers, challenges the “Open Internet” rule approved in 2010 by the Federal Communications Commission.

The seemingly arcane rule, or changes to it, could have an important impact: some say it may determine whether fixed broadband providers can control what services flow throw their networks.

“These rules provide an important safeguard both for innovation and investment on the Internet,” said David Sohn, an attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology, which backs the FCC rules.

Sohn said that if Verizon has its way, it and other providers like Comcast or AT&T could “play favorites,” by blocking or degrading services such as YouTube or Netflix to promote their own offerings or that of their partners.

“Every user every day benefits from this rule for the services they use, whether it’s YouTube ot Twitter or something else,” Sohn told AFP.

But Verizon and its allies argue the FCC lacks authority to interfere with their business, and that Congress never decided these companies were regulated utilities or “common carriers.”

 

Read more at: Phys.org

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