retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, ruled yesterday, the New York Times writes, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was within its rights when it repealed so-called net neutrality regulations, adopted during the Obama administration, that had "prohibited broadband internet providers like Comcast and AT&T from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content." The goal of the rules was to insure a level playing field, with supporters saying that repeal would result in higher prices for consumers and higher costs for startups; the Trump-empowered FCC argued that repeal would "encourage innovation and help propel the economy."

However, the Court also ruled that the FCC "had overstepped by broadly stopping state and local governments from writing their own rules." In making that determination, the court virtually assured that the debate will continue, as states like California establish and enforce their own net neutrality rules.

The Times reports that the Trump administration seems to be accepting the first part of the ruling - its victory at the federal level - while saying that the FCC "was still analyzing how the opinion would affect its ability to block state and local regulations," and that it "believed the court had not curtailed its efforts outright."
KC's View:
I have consistently argued, pretty much from the moment that the repeal was announced, that the cable companies are like robber barons in how they approach their customers and that repeal would only give them the ability to rip off their customers even more.

Repeal doesn't hurt big companies like Google and Netflix and Amazon and Walmart/Jet, all of which will be able to afford to pay higher fees to be in the fast lane. But if you are a smaller, entrepreneurial company that is trying to innovate but doesn’t have deep pockets, you’re probably screwed. And, because cable companies and internet providers have all the morals of Don Fabrizio Fanucci, they’ll also no doubt figure out a way to charge their consumer customers more, too. Because, in the end, they’re all about making money and providing shareholder benefits.

John Oliver, on HBO's "Last Week Tonight," got it absolutely (and hilariously/profanely) right in his original analysis, which you can still see here.

The FCC can continue to go after states and localities all it wants. States like California will continue to resist. And I suppose that if Trump loses in 2020, the court's decision will mean that whoever wins will be able to repeal the repeal.