FCC’s Final Rule on Net Neutrality Sparks Legal Challenges

FCC’s Final Rule on Net Neutrality Sparks Legal Challenges 620 345 C-Suite Network

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The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday officially published its Net neutrality rollback order in the Federal Register, triggering a flurry of legal actions and Capitol Hill scrambling to stop it before it takes hold.

The order, which goes into effect on April 23, reverses an Obama era rule requiring that broadband access be regarded as a utility. Without it, ISPs and other firms will be able to speed up or slow down Internet traffic.

It also will allow service provers to make adjustments in program access that could speed up technology innovation, the rollback’s supporters have contended.

The repeal was a major priority of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a commissioner who took the FCC’s helm after Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 and proceeded to strip away numerous regulations put into place by Obama.

Legal Maneuvers

Following publication of the FCC’s Final Rule, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that a coalition of 23 state attorneys general had filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seeking to block the illegal rollback of Net neutrality.

The FCC’s ruling was arbitrary and capricious, the AGs argued, and would open up consumers to throttling, blockage of certain content, and a the possibility that some consumers would be charged more than others for the same content.

Public Knowledge also filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the FCC’s order, arguing that Chairman Ajit Pai had broken with more than 20 years of FCC history as protector of the open Internet.

“The impact of this order is clear,” said John Bergmayer, senior council at Public Knowledge. “By eliminating its rules and oversight role, the FCC has given broadband providers the green light to press forward with anti-competitive and anti-consumer business models.”