Federal courts to hear potentially landmark net neutrality case today

Verizon's CES 2013 booth

Above: Verizon's CES 2013 booth

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat
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Federal judges will hear a long-standing case tomorrow from Verizon Wireless who claims the Federal Communications Commission is overstepping its bounds when enforcing its net neutrality laws.

Net neutrality, as defined by the FCC, is a set of principles that hold that all traffic delivered over the Internet should be treated equally, without special treatment given to any specific data from one entity. For example, Comcast could offer Netflix the ability to stream their video content much faster than their competitors if they pay a fee — thus degrading streaming video for non-Netflix services.)

Today’s hearing has the potential to be a landmark case in deciding if net neutrality falls within the boundaries of the FCC — specifically when it comes to wireless Internet. Verizon first began arguing against the net neutrality rules back in 2011, saying that it not only impedes its ability to run the business but it also serves as a violation of the company’s right to free speech. Verizon claimed this because it said it doesn’t truly have control over what its network transmits or how data is sent.

The case will be heard by judges Judith Rogers and David Tatel. Tatel in particular is important because he also struck down a 2010 cast that would have allowed the FCC to impose its net neutrality rules over Comcast.

Via Reuters