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Charging Netflix at issue in open-Internet case

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NEW YORK — Will broadband providers start charging Internet services such as Netflix to deliver the massive amounts of data that streaming video and other content require?

A court ruling this week gives providers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon more flexibility to do that, even though immediate changes are unlikely.

Technically, providers have always been allowed to charge Netflix, Google and others for priority treatment. But the so-called net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC in 2010 discouraged the practice, and any attempt to do it would likely have faced a challenge from the agency.

In striking down those rules Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit lifted any uncertainty and removed any constraints broadband providers might have felt.

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