Net neutrality rollback upheld by D.C. circuit court, protections by states allowed

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FCC acted within its rights to roll back Obama-era net neutrality protections, according to a recent circuit court ruling.

But, that ruling also said states can now put their own protections in place.

“A lightly regulated internet is a good thing for consumers because it produces investment and innovation,” Patrick Halley of U.S. Telecom, The Broadband Association, said.

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers, companies like Comcast or Verizon, have to treat all content equally, and not give preference to certain digital content providers.

Opponents of the ruling said it’s bad for small businesses, forcing them to pay more for better access and faster service.

And that, they said, will ultimately increase costs for consumers.

“The internet cannot be allowed to become a two-tiered system," Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin said in a statement.

“The internet doesn’t belong to the wealthy few," Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said.

But FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the ruling protects consumers by keeping competition alive. He doesn’t worry about states making their own rules.

“The D.C. circuit was actually very clear that, if there’s a state regime that comes in that undermines the approach that the FCC has put in place, that those would likely be struck down,” Carr said.

Yet even with the ruling, nothing is permanent. A Democratic presidential administration could decide to re-establish the original protections.

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