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

  • Michael Portillo Making ‘The Trouble With

    Michael Portillo Making ‘The Trouble With the Tory Party’ for Viacom’s Channel 5

    On the day that British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation plans, a prominent former politician has unveiled a two-part documentary about the troubles faced by her Conservative party. Michael Portillo is a former senior Conservative politician and leadership candidate. As the starting gun is sounded on a fresh leadership race, his documentary “Portillo: [...]

  • Twitter

    Twitter Permanently Bans Anti-Trump Krassenstein Brothers, Who Deny They Broke Platform's Rules

    Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Ed and Brian Krassenstein — progressive political activists famous for trolling Donald Trump and his supporters — with the company alleging the brothers used bogus accounts to amplify their reach on the platform. “The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” a Twitter rep said in a statement. “Operating multiple fake [...]

  • Theresa May

    British Prime Minister Theresa May Announces Resignation

    British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed she will step down as Conservative leader on June 7. She set the timetable for her resignation, Friday. It paves the way for a contest to decide on a new U.K. Prime Minister. She will remain as Prime Minister until a new leader is in position. The Prime [...]

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays

    Narendra Modi Wins New Mandate in Indian Election and Divides the Film Industry

    India has returned the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to power for a second term, with a huge mandate. In doing so, it polarized the film industry. The NDA won 351 seats out of a total of 542. The biggest democratic exercise in the world, more than 600 million Indians voted across six weeks. [...]

  • tammy brook

    FYI Brand Group Launches Social Impact Division

    FYI Brand Group, the music and fashion brand marketing and public relations firm founded by Tammy Brook, is launching a social impact division dedicated to campaigns centered around creating a call to action for social good. Organizations that have signed on to work with FYI include the American Cancer Society and Black Lives Matter; the [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content