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US Court of Appeals upholds FCC's Net Neutrality rules

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A federal court upheld net-neutrality regulations designed to ensure an open internet, handing a victory to the Obama administration and a defeat to telephone and cable providers.

The Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday acted after a decade of debate over web access that pitted Silicon Valley against companies that provide internet access to homes and businesses. The court likened internet service providers to utilities, saying they “act as neutral, indiscriminate platforms for transmission of speech.”

The ruling is a triumph for the Federal Communications Commission’s Democratic majority that passed the rules last year. It is a win for Alphabet Inc.’s Google, online video provider Netflix Inc. and others who championed the notion of an open internet where internet service providers are prevented from offering speedier lanes to those willing to pay extra for them.

“The open internet rules are here to stay,” Pantelis Michalopoulos, an attorney who represented Netflix and Dish Network Corp. in the case, said in an e-mail. “There is no doubt who is the winner: the open internet. The gatekeepers may not block or throttle our information. They may not ask information to pay tolls.”

Challengers including AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. said the rule would discourage innovation and investment. AT&T said it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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