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Net neutrality is half-dead: Court strikes down FCC’s anti-blocking rules

ArsTechnica - Ruling lets ISPs "block and discriminate against customers’ communications."

The Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality rules were partially struck down today by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said the Commission did not properly justify its anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules.

Those rules in the Open Internet Order, adopted in 2010, forbid ISPs from blocking services or charging content providers for access to the network. Verizon challenged the entire order and got a big victory in today's ruling. While it could still be appealed to the Supreme Court, the order today would allow pay-for-prioritization deals that could let Verizon or other ISPs charge companies like Netflix for a faster path to consumers.

The court left part of the Open Internet Order intact, however, saying that the FCC still has "general authority" to regulate how broadband providers treat traffic.

The FCC got itself into trouble with some wishy-washy rulemaking. The commission did not declare that ISPs are "common carriers," yet it imposed restrictions that sound strikingly similar to regulations that can only apply to common carriers.

The 81-page ruling (PDF) today states the following: