WASHINGTON — Free Press on Monday intervened with nearly two-dozen advocacy groups and tech-industry leaders in defense of the Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality order. The groups filed a joint brief in opposition to the cable, telephone and wireless lobbying associations’ legal challenge to the FCC’s landmark Feb. 26 decision to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act.
The brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit precedes oral arguments, which are scheduled to take place on Dec. 4, 2015. In June the same federal court rejected broadband-industry efforts to delay the Net Neutrality rules from going into effect.
“No Internet user today wants to be steered by her ISP to content providers who have paid the ISP for the privilege of faster access,” reads the joint brief. “No one wants to find it difficult or impossible to create her own content because the bits she creates would be relegated to the slow lane in the ISP’s system. Internet users feel that for the $60, $70, or $90 they pay the ISP each month, they ought to be free to do as they like online.”
Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:
“Today’s joint brief is a forceful defense of the open Internet and the law that keeps it open. Since the Feb. 26 ruling, the industry has engaged in a last-ditch effort — including pushing Congress to restrict the FCC’s ability to protect consumers — to overturn Net Neutrality.
“We’re confident the FCC’s ruling will stand up in court this time because the agency chose the correct legal path.
“The broadband providers challenging the FCC’s authority want you to think the content you see on the Internet is the exact same thing, from a legal standpoint, as the wire that connects you to the Internet. That’s just not the case. Nobody wants their monopoly-minded phone or cable company deciding who you can connect with or where you can go online.
“We’re happy the FCC restored Title II protections to the Internet — correcting course after the last 10 years in the wilderness. The Internet is open today, and will stay that way under these rules, because the FCC used its clear congressional authority to keep access networks open for all speakers and open for business.”
The joint brief is available at http://www.freepress.net/sites/default/files/resources/Intervenors_Brief_as_Filed_Sept._21_2015.pdf.