A Washington, D.C., appeals court is set to hear arguments later this year on new net neutrality rules, which critics say could lead to government regulators censoring websites such as the Drudge Report and Fox News.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear oral arguments against the Federal Communications Commission’s rules on Dec. 4. A panoply of amicus briefs filed with the court last week offer a preview of the arguments.
In its February vote on net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission stated that broadband providers do not have a right to free speech. “Broadband providers are conduits, not speakers … the rules we adopt today are tailored to the important government interest in maintaining an open Internet as a platform for expression,” the majority held in its 3-2 vote.
The rules, which went into effect in June, require that broadband providers — such as Verizon or Comcast — offer access to all legal online content. It did not place such a requirement on “edge providers,” such as Netflix and Google. The FCC defines edge providers as “any individual or entity that provides any content, application, or service over the Internet, and any individual or entity that provides a device used for accessing any content, application, or service over the Internet.”