Free Press Files in Support of FCC Comcast Order

Consumer groups and Internet innovators file legal brief in support of FCC in case against Comcast
Contact Info: 
Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

WASHINGTON -- In a legal brief filed Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Free Press and five other organizations backed the Federal Communications Commission's authority to protect Internet users' right to an open Internet.

The brief defends the FCC's decision in 2008 to act on a complaint, also filed by Free Press and its allies, asking the FCC to stop Comcast's illegal Internet blocking. Comcast appealed the order, challenging the FCC's jurisdiction and procedures. The appeal is currently in the D.C. Circuit Court, and no argument date has yet been scheduled.

The FCC's August 2008 ruling confirmed that Comcast illegally blocked access to lawful online content. The brief shows that the FCC has the authority to protect users' right to access the content, applications and services of their choice. The other organizations joining the brief are Public Knowledge, the Open Internet Coalition, and Media Access Project representing Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and Vuze, Inc.

Chris Riley, policy counsel at Free Press, made the following statement:

"We strongly support the FCC's action to protect consumers from secret, illegal Internet blocking. This case is about a federal agency punishing violations of federal law and policy. The FCC acted well within its authority as established by Congress and multiple federal courts.

"Comcast’s arguments to the court are legal acrobatics attempting to prevent the FCC from enforcing the law. But Comcast must answer for its actions. Its illegal blocking demonstrates why the FCC must take action to protect the free and open Internet and why stronger Net Neutrality rules, like the ones recently proposed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, are urgently needed to protect consumers."

Read the brief here: www.freepress.net/node/73218

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