Keep the Internet neutral

The F.C.C. needs to act to establish authority over the system

A federal appeals court ruling this week that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require so-called “net neutrality” on the part of broadband providers came just as the commission was concluding the process instituting that requirement. Internet users should be concerned.

The decision was a big victory for Comcast and the other large cable companies, which oppose net neutrality (that is, the historic equal access to all Web sites) because it would limit their ability to favor some online content over others—to be, in other words, gatekeepers of the Internet. And it threw a monkey wrench into the national broadband plan the FCC issued last month, since the commission cannot move forward without clear authority to regulate broadband.

There is a solution to this dilemma, however: Under the Communications Act, the FCC, which now classifies broadband in the same way it does any Internet application, such as Facebook or Lexis-Nexis, can “reclassify” it as a “communications service,” a category that includes such two-way services as the phone companies. This clearly is where broadband belongs, and the reclassification would automatically give the FCC the ability to regulate broadband.

To sign a petition advocating this reclassification, go to