Court doesn't tip its hand in FCC net neutrality case

A federal appeals court had plenty of questions for both sides during Friday's oral arguments on net neutrality. And the court did little to indicate how it will rule on the issue.

The New York Times Bits blog noted that comments from Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit seemed to "indicate more comfort" with the FCC's legal defense of its rules, which classify broadband as a "common carrier" service like phones. But as The Washington Post noted, Tatel also pressed the FCC's top lawyer, asking why the commission abandoned a plan to treat broadband less severely rather than categorizing it as a common carrier service.

And the Times noted that "the judges also showed skepticism of several aspects of the FCC rules, including whether the agency had the authority to strap net neutrality rules onto wireless services and whether it was reasonable to ban "paid prioritization," where websites pay Internet service providers for faster downloads.

The ruling could have a major impact on wireless services such as T-Mobile's Binge On and unlimited streaming music offerings, which provide streamed content without incurring data charges. A decision is expected in the spring. Read more in The New York Times, The Washington Post.

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