Father of Net Neutrality Celebrates Federal Court Decision on Broadband Internet

Tim Wu
Tim Wu, then a candidate for New York lieutenant governor, speaks during a news conference on Aug. 28, 2014, in Albany.Mike Groll / AP file

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By Emil Guillermo

A federal court’s decision allowing for stronger regulation of broadband providers and greater protection for consumers was praised today by the internet authority who coined the term "net neutrality."

“I feel strongly that the court has done the right thing to preserve the economic and social benefits of open networks for future generations,” Timothy Wu, a Columbia University law professor who first used the phrase "net neutrality" in 2003, said in a statement released through the university.

The latest milestone in the legal battle for a more accessible internet came Tuesday.

By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit backed the FCC’s stance that high speed internet service can be defined as a utility and not a luxury.

The ruling’s distinction allows for the FCC’s rules on net neutrality, which prohibits carriers from blocking or controlling consumers’ internet access. Previously, internet providers held that as a luxury, the internet did not need such close regulation.

It was just last year that the FCC first passed regulations on net neutrality.

RELATED: Father of Net Neutrality, Tim Wu, Hails FCC Decision

Wu believed the idea of "net neutrality" would negate potentially discriminatory internet practices.

"I hope that the issue will now remain out of politics — like the national parks or something," Wu told NBC News at the time. "But that may be wistful thinking."

In fact, even with the current ruling, the legal battle seems far from over. Reports say today’s decision will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Since September 2015, Wu has been serving as special adviser to New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on technology, competition, and internet policy and legal issues. In 2011 and 2012, Wu served as a senior adviser to the Federal Trade Commission. He is the author of "The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires" and co-author of "Who Controls the Internet?"

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