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WASHINGTON — Today the FCC sought public comment on the impact its disastrous Net Neutrality repeal had on other internet safeguards.

In October 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld portions of the Trump FCC’s 2017 repeal of Net Neutrality rules and other fundamental protections under Title II of the Communications Act. However, the court remanded three key issues for the agency’s further consideration, including the implications of removing Title II protections from certain FCC policies concerning broadband infrastructure, the Lifeline program and public safety.

In 2017, the FCC repealed the landmark Open Internet Order the Obama-era FCC put in place in 2015. The 2015 order reclassified broadband-internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II, a baseline requirement for the agency to safeguard Net Neutrality, promote broadband affordability, preserve public safety and internet access during emergencies, and maintain a host of other safeguards on behalf of internet users.

Over the coming months, the public will have the opportunity to comment on these aspects of the 2017 ruling.

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:

“The people overwhelmingly demanded a free and open internet, and instead got stuck with this mess. The FCC not only repealed Net Neutrality, but as the court has indicated, it put broadband access, affordability and even public safety at risk. That the court sent these critical issues back to the FCC for further review demonstrates that Chairman Pai’s interpretation of his agency’s legal authority rests on very unstable ground.

“Pai’s zealous efforts to remove broadband providers from any obligations to protect internet users defies what Congress clearly intended for these critical communications services. Without Title II safeguards, we face several potentially harmful consequences to public safety and universal service.

“It didn’t have to be this way. The Obama FCC’s 2015 classification of broadband as a lightly regulated TItle II service put the agency’s policies back in harmony with the law and prevented the pending legal chaos that Chairman Pai has created. The fight for open, nondiscriminatory internet access won’t end with Pai’s tenure at the FCC. And Free Press will still be here demanding the restoration of these safeguards on behalf of all internet users long after he has left the FCC.”

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