On Tuesday, April 6, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a ruling that the FCC has limited authority to tell ISPs how to operate their networks (WSJ.com subscription required). The decision overturned a penalty for Comcast’s decision in 2006 to slow down certain bandwidth hogs that were using BitTorrent to share movies and other large files.

Widely considered a positive ruling in favor of property rights, the FCC’s flawed doctrine of Net Neutrality forced network operators to treat all apps and all users the same, despite any views of fairness or throttling users to conform with appropriate consumption of shared resources like transmission capacity, router services and the like has been trounced. The court argued that Congress did not give the FCC the mandate. This decision forces a rethinking of the Commission’s Broadband Plan.

Rightfully so. Competition is a better regulator than the FCC or any government agency. Competition will spurn innovation and the marketplace of ideas is a better use of capital and talent than regulatory lawyers. The silly National Broadband Plan is just another way to tax those who live in easily served areas and redistribute that tax to subsidize those who live in rural areas.

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