Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. struck down the Federal Communications Commission's mandates that require internet providers to treat all internet traffic equally.
Net neutrality is the concept that cellular, cable, or phone internet connections should treat all websites and services the same without limitations imposed by the Internet Service Provider.
The ruling on January 14th now means carriers do not have to follow those rules, but according to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn the ruling wasn't a total loss.
"The court did say that we have the capacity to not only enforce our current rules, but to have more open internet engagement if we choose and it kept intact the transparency requirement," said Clyburn.
The transparency requirement requires that the internet provider is open about its practices and its prices, it is an important part of the ruling that was upheld for the consumer according to Clyburn.
Clyburn said, "Their traffic, their engagement, and their devices will not be favored for someone else's."
Critics of the ruling on net neutrality believe that internet providers could award faster bandwidth speeds to sites that pay more.
Critics also believe providers could slow or even block sites that may compete with them or their affiliates, Clyburn hopes it doesn't come to that point.
Clyburn said, "We can use a data roaming order, which was upheld to look at and possibly craft rules going forward to address that.
"I am still positive about our ability to ensure American's expectations as it relates to their engagement online is realized," said Clyburn.
Clyburn said since the decision is still new, the FCC is still in the process of reviewing the ruling and deciding what to do next.
Clyburn was the guest lecturer at Don Fowler's "Politics and Mass Media" course at the University of South Carolina.