The United States Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 net neutrality rules.
The ruling is a major victory for internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom companies, which argued that the rules were an impediment to the ability of broadband providers to offer services like video streaming and social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Hulu.
They were also concerned that the regulations were preventing the government from protecting internet privacy and freedom of expression.
It was also a major setback for Google, which had been fighting the rules for years and fought to have them upheld on the grounds that they were a violation of its First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exchange of ideas.
The ruling was a major win for internet services, but also a significant setback for the Federal Trade Commission, which was also challenging the rules.
The agency’s chief, Maureen Ohlhausen, said the agency would review the decision and will likely seek to revisit it.
“The decision does not invalidate the rules, but it does eliminate a major obstacle to innovation and economic growth in America,” she said in a statement.
“We look forward to reviewing the full extent of the agency’s review and will decide whether to appeal the ruling.”
The FCC has been under pressure from tech companies and their allies to adopt the rules that were pushed through by the Obama administration in 2015.
The Trump administration has taken aim at the agency, calling it a “so-called utility” that is “an arm of the government that regulates and regulates in a way that is not in the best interests of the American people.”
But the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which upheld the rules in February, did not take a position on whether telecoms should be able a fee to connect their networks.
Instead, it found that ISPs should not be able, on their own, to charge for the traffic they can get from a consumer or business.
The court found that while internet access providers are not utilities, they do have to pay for the data they can deliver, and that this could cause some customers to end up paying more.
While the ruling is the first time an appeals court has ruled on the issue, it is a victory for the Obama-era FCC.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said that his agency has the authority to determine if the net neutrality regulation is in the public interest.
Net neutrality rules were passed by the FCC in 2015 and are meant to prevent broadband providers from slowing down or blocking websites and other content to benefit their own networks.
The rules also forbid internet providers from charging for traffic to their networks, although some companies have argued that they could make such payments to encourage users to subscribe to their services.
Under the net-neutrality rules, ISPs can’t block or slow down websites or other content, but they cannot give consumers preferential treatment, or force them to pay extra for internet access.
Under the current rules, broadband providers can’t slow down or charge more to reach customers.