Internet Service Providers Try to Stop Net Neutrality in Court





Pliers cutting ethernet cord

Earlier this year the FCC passed a new rule that would bring back Net Neutrality. This was followed by the FTC and FCC announcing a partnership to enforce Net Neutrality and regulate the Internet in April. For years, the argument has been about who has what control over the Internet to regulate it: the FTC or the FCC? Now, the two sides will work together to enforce rules for Internet providers.

Large Internet providers have banded together through a lobby group representing cable and telecom Internet providers to ask the FCC to put the Net Neutrality rules on hold pending the results of a court case they believe they will win.

The FCC will likely deny the request, but cable companies are hopeful that the Supreme Court will rule in their favor this time. This comes as the Supreme Court has been cutting down on agencies’ abilities to create rules without approval from Congress. With this change, Internet providers are hoping that this time the Supreme Court will rule that the FCC needs Congress approval for such a large change.

Joining the push to object to this is ACA Connects, a trade organization representing more than 500 small- and medium-sized independent companies that provide Internet service, video, and phone to 31.9 million households.

“The FCC’s internet takeover is unwarranted, and it is creating an unpredictable and untenable environment for small and independent providers trying to make needed investments to close the digital divide,” said ACA Connects President and CEO Grant Spellmeyer in a statement sent to Cord Cutters News. “ACA Connects fully supports Congressman Bob Latta’s resolution. We thank him for his critical leadership as the chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.”

With these new rules, the FCC reclassifies Internet service providers as Title II companies. This gives the FCC, in partnership with the FTC, more power to regulate how they are run.

“Consumers do not want their broadband provider cutting sweetheart deals, with fast lanes for some services and slow lanes for others. They do not want their providers engaging in blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “If consumers have problems, they expect the Nation’s expert authority on communications to be able to respond.  Now we can.  In partnership with our colleagues at the FTC, we will protect consumers and ensure internet openness, defend national security, and monitor network resiliency and reliability. I thank Chair Khan and her team for their leadership and cooperation in protecting consumers.”

“The FTC is squarely focused on protecting Americans from illegal business tactics, from tackling AI-enabled voice cloning fraud to fighting the scourge of robocalls. We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the FCC,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “Effective law enforcement requires targeting the upstream actors enabling unlawful conduct, and having the FCC as a partner here will be critical.”

There is a growing pushback against the move. Even though Internet services have been reclassified as Title II common carrier services, the full impact of Net Neutrality is still months or years away, as we expect Internet providers to sue to stop it. Now, though, the FCC and FTC are working together to create a framework to help regulate the Internet.

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