US appeals court won't reconsider Net Neutrality repeal

BT and Microsoft among tech companies who backed the request

A US appeals court has refused to rehear the net neutrality repeal ruling, declining the request filed by 15 US states, as well as multiple trade and advocacy groups.

One of the notable groups that sought the rehearing was INCOMPAS, whose significant members include BT, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook, and Google.

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The appeal was filed in December of last year, in response to the October 2019 ruling that largely upheld the repeal of net neutrality, and two years after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reverse the landmark principle.

In June 2018, the US officially scrapped regulations that forced internet service providers to treat all data that travelles over their networks equally.

Critics of net neutrality justified the decision by arguing that the principle, which was introduced in 2015 by the Obama administration, stifled innovation and hampered internet providers.

Net neutrality rules have remained active in UK law through the EU’s Regulation 2015/2120, which “aims to establish common rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services”.

Following the UK’s recent departure from the EU, the status of net neutrality might potentially be threatened.

The Chairman of FCC, Ajit Pai, a significant proponent for repealing net neutrality, welcomed the appeal court’s decision.

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“The internet has remained free and open, consumers have been protected, speeds have increased, and more and more Americans have gotten access to broadband,” said a spokeswoman for Pai.

In the past, Pai had experienced backlash for opposing net neutrality. In early 2018, he was forced to cancel his appearance at CES after receiving death threats.

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