FCC to rework existing net neutrality rules, won't appeal Verizon ruling

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler plans to craft a new set of net neutrality rules that will prohibit broadband providers from throttling bandwidth or blocking Internet content from over-the-top providers like Netflix of Amazon, reports The Washington Post.

The regulator won't appeal the ruling by United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last month that rejected a previous version of these rules. In its ruling, the court said that the FCC did not have the legal authority to implement the regulations it proposed in 2011, which were challenged in a lawsuit filed by Verizon Communications.

While the ruling was a loss for the regulator, it did give it the option to regulate broadband access under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This would enable the FCC to develop rules on discriminating Web traffic while complying with the court order.

Another element that the FCC could enact is reclassifying broadband providers, which allows for regulating them similar to the way they regulate traditional telcos. According to the Washington Post's report, this reclassification would give the regulator the authority to put in place what policy experts say would be a "blanket ban on traffic discrimination."

Besides managing network traffic, the commission could use Section 706 to look into state-level laws that bar municipalities from building their own fiber-based broadband networks. A number of states, including Utah and Minnesota, have proposed laws banning community broadband networks.

For more:
- Reuters via CNBC has this article
- The Washington Post has this article

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