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US Federal Trade Commission in the net neutrality spotlight

Joint IIC - Italian Chapter and Agcom workshop

AT&T has given up its years-long quest to hinder the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to regulate broadband providers, reports Ars Technica. AT&T had said it intended to appeal its loss in the case to the US Supreme Court but decided not to file a petition to the court and did not ask for a deadline extension. “AT&T had been trying to limit the FTC's authority since October 2014, when the FTC sued AT&T for promising unlimited data to wireless customers and then throttling their speeds by as much as 90%. With AT&T having ruled out a Supreme Court appeal, the FTC can finally pursue its case against AT&T and try to secure refunds for affected customers. AT&T’s decision also means that traditional phone companies will have to face some net neutrality oversight from the FTC after the FCC finalises its net neutrality repeal.” The net neutrality repeal also eliminates the FCC's 2015 classification of broadband providers as common carriers. But AT&T's decision to drop its appeal means that the FTC will be able to regulate broadband services sold by companies that also offer common carrier phone service. “Even though the FTC's authority has been preserved, there will still be fewer consumer protections for broadband customers after 11 June. The FCC is eliminating its rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritisation, along with numerous other consumer protections. The FTC can’t impose strict net neutrality rules on ISPs. Instead, the FTC can only try to punish ISPs if they make net neutrality promises and fail to keep them. To avoid FTC-enforced restrictions, ISPs can simply change their promises – as Comcast did last year when it removed a pledge that it won't charge websites or other online applications for ‘fast lanes’.” Democratic attorneys general from more than 20 states are suing the FCC to reverse the net neutrality repeal. Read more

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

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