Today, Public Knowledge and other petitioners will file a brief arguing that the Federal Communications Commission’s reclassification of broadband as an ‘information service’ and its repeal of important Open Internet protections was unlawful.
Other petitioners on the brief include Mozilla Corporation, Vimeo, Inc., Open Technology Institute, National Hispanic Media Coalition, NTCH, Inc., Benton Foundation, Free Press, Coalition For Internet Openness, Etsy, Inc., Ad Hoc Telecom Users Committee, Center For Democracy And Technology, and Incompas.
The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“We at Public Knowledge believe the FCC has made multiple bad policy decisions under Chairman Pai. In this case, the FCC also broke the law.
“For the first time, and contradicting every previous FCC to consider the issue, the FCC's current leadership has decided that the agency lacks jurisdiction over broadband entirely. Not only did this radical move violate the statute, but the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act by rewriting history and pretending that its latest move is a return to, rather than a rejection of, the bipartisan consensus on the proper role of the FCC with respect to broadband. While past Republican-led FCCs have expressed a preference for ‘light-touch’ regulation, the current leadership has opted instead for a ‘zero-touch’ approach.
“Nor is this the only way in which the agency broke the law. It cherry-picked investment evidence that supported its predetermined outcome and ignored evidence that classifying broadband as ‘telecommunications’ did not harm broadband deployment. It conducted a cost-benefit analysis that looked only at the costs and benefits that suited its ideological preferences. And it ignored the hundreds of expert submissions, as well as the comments of millions of ordinary citizens, who explained how Open Internet protections are vital to protect democracy, free expression, and online competition.
“The 2015 net neutrality rules were upheld in court after repeated challenges. The current leadership’s reckless moves have plunged the industry into another period of uncertainty while leaving consumers unprotected.
“If the current policy stands, consumers can expect higher bills and fewer online choices, with fewer expressive and creative outlets. Ultimately, the internet will look more and more like the overpriced cable TV bundles of decades past. Therefore, we have asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the agency’s unlawful and unwise actions and to order the agency to do its job by protecting consumers and the open internet.”