FCC Delays Net Neutrality Comment Period

After a court ruled the U.S. Federal Communications Commission did not have the authority to stop Comcast from limiting peer-to-peer traffic, the agency has extended the deadline for public comment on net neutrality rules.

It is unusual for the FCC to make such a postponement.

The deadline for filing comments was set for this Thursday. But several groups, including the CTIA, the United States Telecom Association and the Open Internet Coalition, asked the FCC to extend the deadline following the Tuesday court ruling. They said having more time will allow all interested parties to evaluate the legal implications of the Comcast ruling, the FCC said in a statement.

The FCC has been working toward making its net neutrality principles, adopted in 2005, into formal rules. It is moving through the rulemaking process, which allows for several rounds of comments from interested parties.

The new deadline for filing comments is April 26. "We find that good cause exists to provide all parties an extension of the reply comment deadline," the FCC wrote.

The "good cause" was the ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday, which found that the FCC didn't have the right to stop Comcast from limiting BitTorrent's peer-to-peer traffic.

Experts are split on the potential impact of the ruling on the FCC's efforts to turn its net neutrality principles into formal rules. Some say the decision could prevent the agency from implementing rules related to broadband services or implementing parts of its national broadband plan.

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