WASHINGTON — Phone and cable companies and their lobbying groups filed an initial series of legal briefs on Thursday as part of their legal challenge against the Federal Communications Commission's Feb. 26 Net Neutrality order. After the FCC properly decided to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act, various industry groups filed 10 different lawsuits to prevent the agency from enforcing the open Internet protections. The court ordered those challengers to join together and file a total of three separate briefs today (rather than allowing all 10 petitioners to file separately).
In June the same federal court rejected efforts by the broadband industry to delay the Net Neutrality rules from going into effect. Today’s filings are part of the industry’s multi-faceted effort — including pushing Congress to restrict the FCC’s ability to protect consumers — to prevent Net Neutrality from remaining enforceable.
Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:
“Today’s legal filings contain more of the same flimsy legal arguments broadband providers have been putting forth for more than a decade. As we always have, Free Press will continue to expose such spurious and unsubstantiated claims, defend the rights of Internet users and uphold the FCC’s decision at last to ground open Internet protections in established and essential law.
"The public must have the right to connect and communicate free of unreasonable discrimination by broadband gatekeepers. The FCC’s latest Net Neutrality ruling is built on a solid legal foundation. It ensures that the Internet remains a network open to all comers, fosters a diversity of perspectives, and stays free of interference and censorship. That’s why millions of people called on Washington to keep Net Neutrality the principal rule of the open Internet.
"Legions of lawyers and lobbyists working for the phone and cable companies aren’t going to succeed this time in taking these rights away from Internet users. Their overheated rhetoric in these court cases ignores both the law and the way that Internet access actually operates.
"These companies' top executives have repeatedly told investors that the rules will have no effect on their plans to invest in and grow their broadband businesses. Yet their lawyers claim just the opposite — that Net Neutrality protections will harm these same enterprises.
“These and other dubious legal arguments put forth today by access providers expose the weakness of their case against enforceable Net Neutrality protections. Communications law is rooted in principles of protecting users of any communications network against unreasonable discrimination, blocking and interference. The FCC’s Net Neutrality ruling is legally sound and puts Internet users first.”