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WASHINGTON — Attorneys for open Internet supporters made the case for Net Neutrality protections in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday. Representing Free Press, New America’s Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge, appellate litigator Kevin Russell helped argue on behalf of two-dozen public interest groups, social justice organizations and tech companies to defend the Federal Communications Commission’s February decision.

That FCC ruling reclassified broadband Internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act. The rules went into effect in June and use the agency’s strongest authority to prevent Internet service providers from blocking, censoring, throttling or degrading Internet content, services and applications.

After hearing today’s oral arguments, Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

“Today Net Neutrality supporters offered a forceful defense of people’s right to connect and communicate on the Internet, and the law that keeps that vital communications platform open. We’re confident that the panel of judges will uphold the FCC’s ruling, because the agency chose the correct legal path to protect the rights Congress preserved for all Internet users.

“The judges recognized right out of the gate that earlier court cases on this topic made that path clear.  The Supreme Court 10 years ago gave the FCC broad leeway to interpret the statutes in play.  In the current case the agency got it right. They returned to the solid foundation of the law in Title II, crafted strong safeguards built on that foundation, and restored protections for the open communications network that powers our democracy and our economy.

“With Title II authority, the FCC can stop access providers’ plans to block and throttle online content, no matter where in their networks they try to play these tricks. That’s the legal protection everyone needs to make sure they can speak up and participate in 21st-century life.”

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