Court Rejects Effort To Block FCC Net Neutrality Rules

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington means that the FCC’s tough new net neutrality rules will take effect on Friday — with the Internet to be reclassified as a regulated communications utility.

The U.S. Telecom Association asked the court to block the changes while justices weigh legal challenges to the regulations. But the organization has “not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review,” the ruling says. The parties in the larger case now have two weeks to propose a schedule for the trial.

“This is a huge victory for Internet consumers and innovators,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says in a statement. Beginning Friday, “blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past. The rules also give broadband providers the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks.”

Open Internet activists also applauded the ruling. It indicates that phone and cable company claims that they’d be irreparably harmed by the new rules “are simply not credible,” says  John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge. “The carriers have also failed to convince the court that they are likely to succeed in their legal case.”

USTelecom CEO Walter McCormick Jr says he’s “disappointed.” Still, he is heartened by the decision to expedite the hearing over the main case. That “shows the gravity of the issues at stake.”

The organization “continues to support the order’s three bright-line rules prohibiting blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, which were not part of the stay request. We look forward to providing the court a more fulsome, detailed accounting of the legal problems with the commission’s order.”

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association acknowledges that the effort to secure a stay was “always a long shot.” But it, too, says that it is pleased with the expedited schedule. “We are now ready to get to the merits of the case and are confident as ever that we will prevail.”

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