A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday upheld a federal rules preventing internet service providers from slowing down or obstructing consumer access to web content. Reuters reports the backing for the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules came via a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel.
The ruling upholds the law enacted last year that says all ISPs must treat all internet traffic the same. Broadband service providers can not give specific services access to faster internet lanes.
Telecommunications industry groups had argued that the rules should not apply to mobile phone internet use, and also that the rule violated the constitutional free-speech rights of the broadband service providers. Those arguments were rejected by the court.
The ruling was a big victory for President Obama’s administration. “Today’s ruling is a victory for the open, fair and free internet as we know it today – one that remains open to innovation and economic growth, without service providers serving as paid gatekeepers,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Tuesday’s ruling doesn’t mean the fight is over, as telcom groups have said they plan to continue with efforts to convince Congress to limit the authority of the FCC.
Netflix and Twitter were among the companies that praised Tuesday’s ruling, while Google and other firms have backed the rules. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as Democrats in Congress, also praised the ruling,
Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group said the FCC had essentially transformed an entire industry, “from an innovative, lightly regulated enterprise that made huge investments into this country, into a public utility subject to the whims of regulators.”
However, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler lauded the ruling, saying it “is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth.”