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April 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

In a decision that appeared to some to shatter the aspiration for Internet neutrality, a federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled unanimously that the FCC exceeded its authority when it sanctioned Comcast for slowing the transfer rate of subscribers sharing large files. Hardly had the ruling been handed down than Congressional lawmakers began preparing to introduce legislation that would give the commission the authority that the court said it presently lacks. Comcast and other Internet service providers (ISPs) “may have won the battle only to face a larger war,” Rebecca Arbogast, a telecom analyst for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc., told today’s (Wednesday) Wall Street Journal. In a statement, the FCC said: “Today’s court decision invalidated the prior Commission’s approach to preserving an open Internet. But the Court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.” However, Gigi Sohn, president of the digital rights group Public Knowledge told the Los Angeles Times that the ruling means that ISPs are now “free to play favorites with content on their networks, to throttle certain applications or simply to block others.”