CCIA To Intervene In Upcoming Court Case To Preserve Net Neutrality

BY Heather Greenfield
February 21, 2018

Washington — The tech industry will be intervening in the upcoming effort to appeal the FCC’s recent reversal of its 2015 Open Internet rules that protected net neutrality. While public interest groups have expressed concern about the impact on consumers, today the Computer & Communications Industry Association said the FCC’s action would give a couple big internet service providers too much power over any US business or consumers that rely on internet access.

CCIA, a trade association with over four decades of advocacy on tech issues and a diverse membership from all parts of the internet ecosystem, said there are numerous grounds for appeal of the FCC action, and CCIA will take legal action to reverse this harmful decision. CCIA specifically announced Wednesday that  it will intervene in the appeal of the final Order that was pushed through by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Tomorrow, the FCC is expected to publish in the Federal Register its final order, voted on along party lines in December 2017, that repealed the 2015 Open Internet Rules. That will mean the clock starts to run on filing to overturn these rules in court.

Although the FCC’s recent Order cited major arguments made in CCIA’s  comments and reply comments, it failed to adequately account for them. CCIA continues to disagree with the FCC’s conception that it has unbridled ability to overturn rules that were upheld as valid over a year ago, and CCIA will mount a vigorous challenge at the appellate court level.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, the tech trade association representing a diverse group of tech companies from leading internet services to internet providers, has advocated on internet access and competition issues for over two decades including legal briefs supporting the 2015 Open Internet Order, which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld just last year. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The FCC’s recent Order destroys rules that prevented online discrimination and protected both consumers and businesses. The open internet has been a catalyst for strong economic growth and a key means for all sorts of businesses across the country to directly reach customers. The FCC is instead handing big, incumbent Internet Service Providers the power to discriminate and even charge extra fees for access to particular websites and services. This would be a big departure from how the Internet has operated for decades and how policymakers have operated to protect consumers’ interests and access to communications and information.”

“Well thought out net neutrality rules are good for business, innovation, free speech, and our global competitiveness. CCIA has been fighting on this issue of net neutrality for more than a decade because strong enforceable fair rules are crucial to the tech industry and so many other businesses across the country. We think there are strong grounds to appeal, and the tech industry will be part of the effort to overturn this Order.”

“In filings with the FCC last year, CCIA outlined how the FCC’s latest action is wrong in its reasoning for withdrawing net neutrality enforcement and how the FCC is wrong in its understanding of its own legal authority. The Commission’s flip-flopping will actually exacerbate legal uncertainty and potentially hurt not only network investment, but also investment in other parts of the internet ecosystem. CCIA looks forward to challenging the FCC in court.”

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