The Federal Communications Commission has decided not to appeal a recent court ruling that shot down its net neutrality restrictions and will instead write fresh regulations to keep ISPs in check, reports The Washington Post. The Post’s Cecilia Kang says that the FCC plans to rewrite net neutrality rules under its authority granted by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Reuters, via CNBC, adds that the commission is still very interested in making sure ISPs can’t discriminate against traffic for rivals’ services but adds that it wants to make sure it does so in a way that doesn’t get struck down by the courts.
The Wall Street Journal adds that the FCC plans to get its revised net neutrality regulations written and published by the late spring or early summer and that it’s still considering whether it wants to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers. While the FCC has signaled that it would be reluctant to reclassify ISPs as common carriers in the past, the commission might want to keep that option open as a way to gain leverage over ISPs and make them more receptive to less restrictive measures. The cable and telecom industries have made clear that attempting to reclassify them would set off a public relations Armageddon against the FCC.
The FCC’s original net neutrality restrictions were shot down by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last month. The ruling was a major victory for telecom and cable companies who have fought all net neutrality restrictions vociferously for years.
UPDATE: Comcast executive vice president David Cohen has issued the following statement in response to the FCC’s decision to rework net neutrality regulations: “Comcast supported the Commission’s Open Internet Order as an appropriate balance of protection of consumer and business interests and we agreed in the NBCUniversal Transaction Order to abide by the Open Internet rules for seven years even if the rules were modified by the courts. With the direction announced today, FCC Chairman Wheeler has taken a thoughtful approach which creates a path for enforceable rules based on the appropriate authority outlined by the Court’s findings. We continue to be committed to work with Chairman Wheeler and the Commission to play a constructive role going forward that will continue to allow the Internet to flourish.”