Free Press: Court Win Gives FCC the Power to Protect Net Neutrality

U.S. Court of Appeals confirms the FCC’s authority to stop ISPs from stifling free expression and innovation online
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Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected an industry challenge and upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order in all respects, stating that the agency exercised its proper authority when it reclassified broadband internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act.

Free Press intervened in the case alongside two-dozen public interest groups, social justice organizations and tech companies to defend the FCC decision. Millions of internet users that Free Press helped mobilize urged the agency to defend Net Neutrality on the strongest legal grounds. The FCC reclassified broadband internet access in February 2015. The open internet rules went into effect last June and use the agency’s Title II authority to prevent internet service providers from blocking, censoring, throttling or degrading online content, services and applications.

Today the court ruled that the FCC’s Open Internet Order contained “extensive support” justifying “the Commission’s decision to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service.”

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a great victory for the millions and millions of internet users who have fought for years for Net Neutrality. They have fought to ensure that the FCC has the power to protect everyone’s right to connect and communicate online. The court upheld the agency’s clear authority to prevent internet service providers from unfairly interfering with our communications. It confirmed that this authority stands on bedrock communications law and recognized the vital role that the open internet plays in our society.

“Today’s ruling proves the FCC chose the correct legal path to protect internet users from discrimination by AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other broadband providers. The agency can now stay focused on safeguarding the open communications networks that power our democracy and our economy and on promoting broadband competition, privacy and affordable internet access for everyone.

“The people have spoken, the courts have spoken and this should be the last word on Net Neutrality. The companies and Congress should listen to the will of the people, follow the law and let the FCC do its job. But if and when opponents of the open internet try to take their case to Congress or the Supreme Court, we remain committed to continuing the fight alongside the millions of Americans who are dedicated to preserving an internet that’s open to everyone.”

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good