U.S. Appeals Court Gives Mixed Ruling On FCC Order To Abdicate Net Neutrality Enforcement

BY Heather Greenfield
October 1, 2019

Washington —  A federal court has found the FCC can choose to give up its role protecting nondiscriminatory internet access, but the ruling appears to leave the door open for states to enforce net neutrality.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its lengthy ruling in Mozilla v. the FCC today. 

 Mozilla and others challenged whether the agency Congress charged with protecting consumers’ access to communications had provided a legitimate basis for abdicating this responsibility. The court basically said the FCC had the authority and jurisdiction to make a decision on this, but ruled against part of the FCC’s 2017 order that tried to preempt states from enacting their own net neutrality protections.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, along with several other associations and organizations filed a court brief in the case asserting that the FCC illegally eviscerated its earlier net neutrality rules. Over the past decade, CCIA has filed numerous legal briefs supporting net neutrality. 

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“We are glad the court recognized deficiencies in the FCC’s effort to foreclose states from remedying the Commission’s abdication of responsibility. We believe the court got it wrong, however, in upholding the FCC’s decision to arbitrarily sideline itself from protecting consumers’ internet access.”

“Open internet access has given everyone the ability to go anywhere online and not be steered according to business relationships. For businesses, net neutrality lets the next start-up be on equal ground with bigger businesses and allows smaller businesses to sell products and services globally. This mixed ruling could mean some states that enforce net neutrality will be more business friendly than others.”

For media inquiries, please contact: Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org

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