The decision—handed down by a DC Federal Appellate Court—was seen as a loss for the FCC and supporters of net neutrality, but in fact, it may have been a huge win. While the court ruled that the FCC had no legal basis to implement the rules as they were written, it provided the agency with a clear roadmap to regulate broadband providers and pricing for all services connected to the internet, as well as broadband providers’ economic relationships with edge providers.
If this sounds like a lot of power, that’s because it is. If the rules are revised and approved by the court (and they are expected to be sometime this spring/summer) the FCC will have substantial regulatory authority over the internet. What’s more is that under these rules, when the FCC wishes to expand upon this authority in the future, they need only to prove that proposed regulations will “encourage the deployment…of advanced telecommunications capability.” A vague and flimsy burden to say the least.