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02 March, 2018

Next stage of Net Neutrality conflict begins

by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

Part 3 - Net Neutrality in the Courts

The publication of the FCC rule repealing net neutrality also restarts litigation to challenge the FCC rule, which seeks an injunction to stop the rule from being implemented. State attorneys general, public interest groups and internet companies are all taking legal action in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The goal is for the FCC rule to be remanded for reconsideration and for it to be enjoined pending the outcome of the litigation. Courts tend to favor federal agencies, but we have a strong case.

The central arguments will be that the FCC’s action was arbitrary and capricious and abuse of their discretion by reversing net neutrality rules. Further, the FCC misinterpreted and disregarded critical evidence on industry practices, and their decision will harm consumers and businesses. In addition, the procedures followed by the FCC violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

Over the next ten days, lawsuits will be filed by several net neutrality advocacy groups. Those that have filed or pledged to do so include Free Press, Public Knowledge and the Open Technology Institute. In addition, 22 states and the District of Columbia have refiled their lawsuits against the FCC to restore its original rules. Mozilla and Vimeo have also filed suit to protect net neutrality.

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