The FCC or Federal Communications Commission loses to Comcast in a lawsuit filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday. This is a landmark case which decided the FCC lacks the authority to require equal treatment of broadband providers over internet trafficking.
Comcast is the United State's largest cable provider accused of allegedly slowing customers' internet access with BitTorrent to prevent large video files to be pirated. The FCC intervened after Comcast's BitTorrent was discovered and attempted, in 2008, to employ "net neutrality" or the idea that internet content deserves equal treatment by network providers. Comcast refuted the FCC's imposition and countered that BitTorrent prevented a select few from slowing Internet access for many customers.
Tuesday's ruling will allow not only Comcast but many internet service providers to profit off of internet content by restricting users' ability to access sites like Hulu.com or YouTube. Internet giants like Google and Microsoft fear that the restrictions could potentially "thwart innovation" and decrease "customer choice."
Many groups fear that Tuesday's ruling will prevent the FCC from establishing internet authority and internet service providers. Ben Scott, director of the non-profit advocacy group Free Press, issued a statement which stated: "This decision destroys the F.C.C.’s authority to build broadband policy on the legal theory established by the Bush Administration.” The present administration and President Obama himself support the creation of federal law to govern net neutrality. The inherit fear of those in opposition of the ruling is Comcast will now have the ability to block or slow access to websites against competitors in telecommunications, though Comcast assures this is not on their agenda.