DC Circuit Appeals Court To Hear Net Neutrality Case Friday

BY Heather Greenfield
January 31, 2019

Washington — For the fourth time in nine years, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals will revisit the issue of net neutrality when it will hear Mozilla’s challenge to the FCC’s order that rescinded nondiscrimination rules online. The internet has operated under so-called net neutrality principles since its inception, but the legal framework behind it has changed over the years with previous iterations of the FCC seeking to enforce net neutrality while this FCC, under Chairman Ajit Pai, abdicated its enforcement role for the first time. It will now be up to three Appeals Court judges to decide whether the FCC’s latest action was legal or not.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, along with the Entertainment Software Association, Internet Association, and the Writers Guild of America, West filed a court brief in the case asserting that the FCC illegally eviscerated its net neutrality rules.

CCIA has filed numerous legal briefs over the past decade supporting net neutrality. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The FCC goes into court Friday with legal arguments that are unlikely to hold up. First, they are trying to say the previous FCC did not have the authority to adopt its order to protect an open internet from discrimination by ISPs, and then they tried to argue these rules were not needed. While the FCC tried to back up its argument with some narrowly skewed statistics, the judges will be shown broader competition and investment numbers that poke holes in the FCC’s assertion. The importance and value of preserving the open Internet is something for which CCIA will always continue to fight.
“Plainly, the current FCC did not have the authority to act arbitrarily and capriciously to eviscerate its 2015 Open Internet rules, but that is what they did. Its reason for rolling back the 2015 rules – a supposed decline in ISP investment – was flawed and not substantiated.The FCC focused on the short-term investment decisions of the twelve largest ISPs, yet it gave almost no consideration to consumers, businesses, and institutions that depend on Internet access – everyone else. There are now no rules preventing ISPs from arbitrarily blocking, throttling, discriminating, or charging fees for fast lanes. The FCC’s actions green light discrimination and put the brakes on future innovation, the next wave of technology, and future investment in the overall Internet ecosystem.”

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