The Supreme Court won't take up net neutrality - this time

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Net Neutrality Appeals After Year DelayMore

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Net Neutrality Appeals After Year DelayMore

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to vacate several court rulings that supported the Obama-era Federal Communications Commissions' net neutrality regulations, Reuters reports.

The main remaining issue for the Supreme Court was whether to set aside the 2016 federal appeals court decision that upheld the net neutrality rule as being within the FCC's authority.

The rules championed by Democratic former President Barack Obama, meant to safeguard equal access to content on the internet, were opposed by President Donald Trump, a Republican.

Three members of the Supreme Court - Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch - indicated that issue the was essentially moot, given more recent actions by the FCC. Neither Chief Justice John Roberts nor new Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh participated in the decision.

The Federal Communications Commission's 2015 order to impose net neutrality rules and strictly regulate broadband was already reversed by Trump's pick for FCC chairman, Ajit Pai. In imposing the rules, the FCC reclassified internet service as a common carrier, a regulatory maneuver that was met with staunch opposition from major internet providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.

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Net neutrality has become a rallying cry for internet activists and those on the political left, who say that if companies are able to "throttle" traffic to and from some sites, then it would ruin the free-flowing nature of the online community. But today the Supreme Court refused to do so.

The Justice Department has also filed suit to block California's state net neutrality law from taking effect in January.

The new rules, which gave internet service providers greater power to regulate the content that customers access, are now the subject of a separate legal fight after being challenged by numerous groups that backed net neutrality.

The FCC's rules, though were largely repealed by the Trump era FCC in December. It was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc FB.O , Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O and Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O , which have said the repeal could lead to higher costs.

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