This should come as no surprise, given that the court indicated
this a few months back, but it's now official that the FCC has no power to mandate net neutrality
or to punish Comcast (even with a gentle wrist slap
) for its traffic shaping practices. Lots of people seem upset by this, but they should not be. This is the right decision. The FCC was clearly going beyond its mandate, as it has no mandate to regulate the internet in this manner. In fact, what amazed us throughout this whole discussion was that it was the same groups that insisted the FCC had no mandate
over the broadcast flag, that suddenly insisted it did have a mandate over net neutrality. You can't have it both ways (nor should you want to). Even if you believe net neutrality is important, allowing the FCC to overstep its defined boundaries is not
the best way to deal with it. So for those of you upset by this ruling, look at it a little more closely, and be happy that the FCC has been held back from expanding its own mandate. Otherwise, the next time the FCC tried to do something like the broadcast flag or suddenly decided it could enforce "three strikes," you'd have little argument.
That doesn't mean that Comcast should get off free for its actions. It should still be punished -- but by the FTC, rather than the FCC -- for misleading its customers about what type of service they were getting, and what the limitations were on those services. As for the FCC, if it really wants a more neutral net, it should focus on making sure that there's real competition in the market, rather than just paying lip service to the idea in its broadband plan