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Verizon Challenges The FCC’s Authority On Net Neutrality

Verizon has challenged the Federal Communications Commission on net neutrality. One telecommunications expert says the case comes down to a legal technicality.

Young woman on her laptop computer.

Photo: Alec Couros

The outcome of this case could change the way internet access is provided.

Net neutrality entails that internet service providers, like Verizon be neutral to the content their customers consume and therefore cannot block or slow customers’ content use.

Former FCC Strategic Planning Deputy Barbara Cherry says net neutrality is needed because the FCC initially classified broadband internet as an information service rather than a telecommunications service.

“Under federal statute, depending on what classification a service has different statutory provisions apply and the jurisdiction of the FCC is very different,” she says.

Cherry says the FCC is now being challenged on its authority to regulate the internet- something she says is necessary and was really inevitable.

“So the concern is that because they control and own an important part of the infrastructure, they might use their control of that infrastructure in favor of their own content offerings or other parts of their business,” she says.

Cherry says  the country has seen this scenario play out before with cable television service and its providers.  She says it is key the court make a decision that will allow for a balance between benefit to internet service providers and ensuring the needs of the general public.

Emily Wright

Emily, an Indianapolis native, joined WFIU/WTIU in 2013 as Producer of Noon Edition. She studied Telecommunications and Liberal Arts Management at Indiana University.

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