FCC won’t appeal ruling on Internet neutrality

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission says it won’t appeal a court decision that struck down rules it designed to ensure that the transmission of all Internet content be treated equally. The agency says it will fashion new rules.

The chairman of the FCC said Wednesday that the agency will rewrite the rules following the ruling by a federal appeals court last month.

The ruling said that the FCC has the authority to regulate broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic, but that the agency failed to establish that its regulations don’t overreach.


The court’s decision could affect the prices consumers pay to access online content.

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FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency will propose new rules to meet the court’s requirements.

The FCC’s net-neutrality rules barred broadband providers from prioritizing some types of Internet traffic over others. The directives aligned with the Obama administration’s goal of Internet openness.

Proponents of net neutrality maintain it ensures a level playing field for big and small companies. They believe it protects consumers and competition, and fosters innovation.

Wheeler said that in writing the new rules, the FCC ‘‘will look for opportunities to enhance Internet access competition.’’


But two Republican commissioners on the five-member FCC panel object to the agency’s new plan. Michael O’Rielly said in a separate statement he is ‘‘deeply concerned . . . that the FCC will begin considering new ways to regulate the Internet.’’ O’Rielly’s view is that the agency doesn’t have legal authority in this area and there is no evidence that consumers are unable to get access to the content of their choice.

Associated Press