Today, the Federal Register published the Federal Communications Commission’ “Restoring Internet Freedom” Order. The Order rolls back the agency’s net neutrality rules, and abandons the agency’s longstanding, bipartisan commitment to broadband oversight, including protecting the Open Internet and ensuring that internet service providers do not discriminate against online content or services. Public Knowledge is filing suit in federal court to challenge this action today.
Recently, Public Knowledge filed a protective petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to protect its rights in the event that, as happened in previous litigation, the multidistrict lottery was conducted early. The multidistrict lottery determines which court Federal Communications Commission appeals may be heard in when challenges are filed in multiple courts.
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overturned the net neutrality rules in December 2017, it gave the green light to cable and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to make the internet start looking more like cable TV. It’s not news that many people are completely sick of cable, from the skyrocketing rates, to archaic and slow set-top boxes, to bogus fees. By refusing to police ISPs, the FCC has cleared the way for the internet to start looking more like this, as the Comcasts of the world begin to jack up rates and nickel-and-dime the internet like they did with cable. The FCC’s action didn’t just repeal one set of rules, but took away even the basic level of oversight the FCC has had over ISPs for years, under both Republican and Democratic leadership.
Today, AT&T placed full-page advertisements in various papers urging Congress to pass an “Internet Bill of Rights” to “provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies.” Public Knowledge contends that Americans had strong, consistent net neutrality rules until Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai repealed them, and finds AT&T’s vague commitments insufficient for a bill.
Public Knowledge welcomes Allie Bohm, Policy Counsel, to our team to focus on government affairs work in key issue areas including broadband policy, privacy, artificial intelligence, and other tech policy initiatives. She holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, and a B.A., magna cum laude, in Peace & Justice Studies, English, and Dance from Tufts University.