The New York Times reports
that high-speed internet service is a utility, not a luxury, a federal court ruled June 14, allowing "net neutrality" to be the law of the land. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-to-1 in favor of the Federal Communication Commission's rules that prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing internet content to consumers, after the same court had previously ruled against an earlier version of net neutrality. “After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections — both on fixed and mobile networks — that will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement to the media. “Over the past two decades, this content has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, from profound actions like choosing a leader, building a career, and falling in love, to more quotidian ones like hailing a cab and watching a movie,” wrote David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan, the two judges who voted for the rules. Lawyers for internet companies said they planned to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, which is currently understaffed thanks to a Republican Congress that refuses to consider President Barack Obama's nomination to fill the empty seat.
“This is an enormous win for consumers,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of the public interest group Public Knowledge. “It ensures the right to an open internet with no gatekeepers.”