FCC tells court it has no “legal authority” to impose net neutrality rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai standing in front of the FCC seal and speaking to reporters.

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaks to the media after the vote to repeal net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Alex Wong )

The Federal Communications Commission opened its defense of its net neutrality repeal yesterday, telling a court that it has no authority to keep the net neutrality rules in place.

Chairman Ajit Pai's FCC argued that broadband is not a "telecommunications service" as defined in federal law, and therefore it must be classified as an information service instead. As an information service, broadband cannot be subject to common carrier regulations such as net neutrality rules, Pai's FCC said. The FCC is only allowed to impose common carrier regulations on telecommunications services.

"Given these classification decisions, the Commission determined that the Communications Act does not endow it with legal authority to retain the former conduct rules," the FCC said in a summary of its defense filed yesterday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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