- Tom Steyer calls for reparations Tuesday 9:05 PM
- Etika mural added as official PokéStop in Pokémon Go Tuesday 8:35 PM
- Debate devolves into candidates shouting ‘math’ at each other Tuesday 8:19 PM
- Bloomberg rolls his eyes when challenged over sexist comments Tuesday 8:18 PM
- Bloomberg almost accidentally claims he ‘bought’ Congress Tuesday 8:03 PM
- ‘Dick Pound’ and ‘Bisexual Men Exist’ trend together–Twitter goes wild Tuesday 7:54 PM
- James Charles receives backlash over ‘racist’ imitation of Latinx TikTok character, Rosa Tuesday 7:06 PM
- Video shows people harassing elderly Asian man while he collects cans Tuesday 6:23 PM
- Bob Iger steps down as Disney CEO, prompting conspiracy theories Tuesday 5:53 PM
- Bhad Bhabie threatens to kill Skai Jackson amid feud involving their moms Tuesday 4:51 PM
- Body camera shows officer boasting about arresting a 6-year-old Tuesday 3:58 PM
- Singer Duffy opens up about the rape, captivity that led her to stop singing Tuesday 3:51 PM
- Cynthia Nixon embodies feminist rage in viral video Tuesday 3:30 PM
- Samsung factory shuts down amid confirmed coronavirus case Tuesday 3:08 PM
- Bebe Rexha says she won’t be ‘imprisoned’ by bipolar disorder Tuesday 2:33 PM
Here’s the legal argument cable companies are using against FCC net neutrality
Is the law on net neutrality’s side?
In the joint brief, the first of many filings related to the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the plaintiffs argue that the rules adopted in late February are illegal and represent an “extraordinary assertion of regulatory authority over the Internet.”
The FCC’s rules reclassify broadband Internet as a “telecommunications service” and subject it to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Under Title II, Internet service providers cannot block, downgrade, or prioritize certain content. The rules represent an ambitious attempt by the commission to preserve an open Internet.
“To reach [its decision], the FCC distorts the Communications Act’s text and disregards the regulatory regime the statute codified.”
Internet service providers AT&T and CenturyLink joined trade groups U.S. Telecom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the American Cable Association, CTIA – The Wireless Association, and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association in filing the brief.
In the brief, the plaintiffs argue that Congress never intended to let the FCC to use the Communications Act, or the subsequent Telecommunications Act of 1996, to classify the Internet in this way.
“To reach [its decision], the FCC distorts the Communications Act’s text and disregards the regulatory regime the statute codified,” the brief says.
The companies also argue that the rules “will undermine future investment by large and small broadband providers, to the detriment of consumers,” a warning that the telecom industry cites frequently in attempting to avoid regulation.
Open-Internet supporters rallied to defend the FCC after opponents filed their brief.
“Legions of lawyers and lobbyists working for the phone and cable companies aren’t going to succeed this time in taking these rights away from Internet users,” Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, said in a statement. “Their overheated rhetoric in these court cases ignores both the law and the way that Internet access actually operates.”
The appeals court may side with the FCC on its interpretation of the relevant laws, but the plaintiffs’ opening statement drives home the fact that the court battle over net neutrality has just begun.
Photo via Joe Gratz/Flickr (PD) | Remix by Jason Reed
Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.