State AGs Vow to Fight FCC’s Net Neutrality Vote in Court


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FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel address protesters before the FCC meeting last Thursday. Photos: Free Press

Opponents vowed to challenge the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality in court. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was the first to step up, Inside Towers reported. He’s leading a multi-state effort. That includes Washington State, where AG Bob Ferguson announced he’s filing for a legal review “in the coming days.”

ArsTechnica reports Oregon, Illinois, Iowa and Massachusetts will join the effort as well. Attorney Generals from 19 states previously asked the FCC to delay the vote over concerns about fraudulent comments filed in the public record on the issue.

One California state senator proposed a state Net Neutrality law. “California can regulate business practices to require net neutrality, condition state contracts on adhering to net neutrality, and require net neutrality as part of cable franchise agreements, as a condition to using the public right-of-way for internet infrastructure, and in broadband packages,” wrote State Sen. Scott Wiener (D) in a piece on Medium. He intends to draft the bill over the next 60 days.

The Commission could face lawsuits from consumer advocacy groups, too. “We’ll have plenty to say in court about the legal mistakes littered throughout this decision,” stated Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood.

On Capitol Hill, Congressional Democrats vowed to file legislation to repeal the FCC’s action, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced. He plans to do that after the Net Neutrality item is published in the Federal Register, expected in early 2018. The FCC’s 3-2 vote split along party lines and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, who spoke to protestors outside the building before the vote, vowed to continue to fight for repeal.

Positive reaction continues to pour in, too on this divisive issue. The Wireless Infrastructure Association said the action removes “burdensome regulations that were negatively affecting investment in the widespread deployment of mobile networks. We believe Congress should address open internet rules on a bipartisan basis in order to provide a more predictable business environment that will lead to greater investments and greater access to modern communications networks.”

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association CEO Shirley Bloomfield said the association believes the process leading up to last Thursday’s vote offered a chance to get rules of the road right, following the 2015 order that “ imposed heavy-handed obligations exclusively on retail broadband providers while ignoring the roles and responsibilities of the many other actors that affect consumers’ online experiences.” NTCA hopes the latest order will not be an end unto itself, but rather a step in a continuing and much-needed conversation about how to strike the right balance in ensuring seamless interconnection among all entities that contribute to consumers’ online experiences and how to enable better access to robust and affordable broadband for all Americans.”

CTIA, too, praised the FCC action. “Chairman Pai and the Commission are right to restore the long-standing regulatory framework that allowed the internet to grow and flourish. Today’s decision will help wireless providers deliver the mobile wireless broadband experience that consumers will demand tomorrow,” said CTIA President/CEO Meredith Attwell Baker.

December 18, 2017               

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