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Internet Association Will Join Legal Battle to Fight FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal

WASHINGTON — The lobbying group representing major internet players like Amazon, Netflix, and Google said it plans to join the legal battle over the FCC’s move last month to repeal net neutrality.

The Internet Association said it would act as an “intervenor” in expected litigation over the FCC’s action. What that means is that the group wouldn’t be filing its own lawsuit, but would join a legal action filed by others. Public interest groups and some state attorneys general have said they intend to challenge the repeal in court.

“The final version of Chairman Pai’s rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers,” Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association, said in a statement. “This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet. IA intends to act as an intervenor in judicial action against this order and, along with our member companies, will continue our push to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality protections through a legislative solution.”

The FCC, in a 3-2 party-line vote, repealed rules that ban internet providers from blocking or throttling content, or from creating “fast lanes” that would be for sale to sites that want speedier access to consumers. They left in place rules that require that ISPs disclose how they handle internet traffic.

The FCC posted the final text version of its action earlier this week, and it is expected to enter the Federal Register in the coming weeks.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who said the repeal of the rules will free ISPs from regulatory burdens that harm investment, was scheduled to speak at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, but canceled. He had received threats in the lead up to the FCC’s vote, and Recode reported on Thursday that the cancellation was in response to security concerns.

Meanwhile, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is seeking to secure the votes that would force a vote to reverse the FCC’s action and restore the rules, via the Congressional Review Act. The move would be somewhat symbolic, as many Republicans support the FCC’s decision and President Donald Trump would be expected to veto such an action, if it were ever to reach his desk.

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