×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FCC Asked to Delay Net Neutrality Vote Pending Court Decision

WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision.

Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that would give some sites and content an advantage in reaching consumers. Instead, Pai says ISPs would be bound by a revised set of rules requiring them to disclose how they handle web traffic. The Federal Trade Commission would be tasked with handling a large share of consumer complaints.

But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a case that could limit the scope of the FTC’s authority over internet service providers like AT&T Mobility, particularly on how they handle web traffic. The court re-heard the case on Sept. 19, and a decision is expected soon.

In their letter to Pai, the groups argued that should the FCC repeal many of the FCC’s existing rules and the court rule against the FCC, there would be a “‘regulatory gap’ that would leave consumers utterly unprotected.”

“In short, the FCC has decided to put all remaining consumer protection eggs in one basket, but cannot be troubled to wait until the Ninth Circuit affirms that this approach is actually consistent with the FTC’s own jurisdictional statute,” they wrote.

An FCC spokesperson said, “This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai’s plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled.  The vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14.”

The letter was signed by representatives from Public Knowledge, the Consumer Federation of America, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, among others.

Harold Feld, senior vice president of Public Knowledge, said there is no urgency for the FCC to vote at its next meeting. “You don’t want to pull the trigger on this until you wait to see what the court actually says,” he said.

Pai argues that the current rules have stifled investment and innovation. He is also calling for the FCC to roll back its 2015 designation of ISPs as common carriers, akin to the classification that is given to a utility. He said the FCC is returning to the type of light regulation that governed the internet before 2015.

But in their letter, the groups say Pai’s proposal would go much further, and weaken even those protections put in place by Kevin Martin, the FCC chairman under President George W. Bush, in 2005. Those were a set of net neutrality principles, but a court eventually ruled that the agency had to establish a sounder legal footing to enforce them.

More Politics

  • Comcast Corporation will host a conference

    Trump Amplifies Calls for DOJ to Investigate Comcast-NBCU for Antitrust Violations

    WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision. Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that […]

  • Neil Young

    Neil Young, After Losing Home to Fire, Denounces 'Unfit Leader' Trump as 'the Denier'

    WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision. Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that […]

  • The Front Runner

    Listen: 'The Front Runner' Shows How Personal Scandal Started to Pervade Political Coverage

    WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision. Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that […]

  • Michael MooreCritics Choice Documentary Awards, Show,

    Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards: Michael Moore Finishes His 2003 Oscar Speech

    WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision. Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that […]

  • US President Donald J. Trump gestures

    Trump, Facing Backlash Over Wildfire Comments, Praises First Responders

    WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision. Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that […]

  • Elvis 1968

    Elvis Presley Among Trump's Selections for Presidential Medal of Freedom

    WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision. Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that […]

  • Viggo Mortensen, Linda Cardellini, Peter Farrelly

    Director Peter Farrelly, 'Green Book' Team Weigh In on Viggo Mortensen's N-Word Controversy

    WASHINGTON — Public interest and consumer groups called for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay his planned vote on Dec. 14 to repeal many of the agency’s existing net neutrality rules pending a court decision. Pai’s proposal would eliminate rules that bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or selling “fast lanes” that […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content