Court denies request to reconsider net neutrality decision

Activists are 'disappointed.'

Feb 7, 2020, 8:24 am

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Andrew Wyrich 

Andrew Wyrich

Net Neutrality Court Petition Denial Rehearing

Free Press/Free Press Action Fund/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

A federal court has denied a request from pro-net neutrality groups to rehear its ruling last year that largely upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of the rules.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued two decisions late on Thursday, one from the full court and another from the three judges that initially gave the decision. There were no comments from the court as to why the petition was denied.

In October, the court released a highly-anticipated decision stemming from Mozilla Corporation v. FCC. A panel of three judges largely upheld the FCC repeal but vacated a portion of it that blocked states from enacting their own net neutrality laws in the absence of federal rules.

A few months later, a number of organizations and states announced they had filed petitions to the court to reconsider its decision.

Matt Wood, the vice president of policy and general counsel at Free Press—one of the groups that filed the petition to the court—said the group was “disappointed” by the court’s decision, but said the group would “keep weighing our legal options.”

“While today’s result is unfortunate, it’s not that surprising,” Wood said in a statement. “Courts routinely deny rehearing requests like this. But we’ll keep weighing our legal options. And we’ll keep making the case in Congress, in statehouses and in future FCC proceedings about the need to restore the vital nondiscrimination rules that Chairman Pai ripped away.”

The FCC did not immediately return a request for comment by the Daily Dot. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

While the FCC’s net neutrality repeal was challenged in the courts, Congress has also attempted to use legislation to undo it.

Last year the House of Representatives passed the Save the Internet Act, a bill that would essentially restore the 2015 Open Internet Order that the FCC repealed in 2017.

Since then, the bill has stalled in the Senate and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have formed a “working group” to come up with “bipartisan solution.”

Following the court’s decision in October, the two senators called for finding “common ground” in potential net neutrality legislation. Sinema is the only Democrat in the Senate who has not co-sponsored the Save the Internet Act.

The working group has been fiercely criticized by net neutrality advocates, who support the Save the Internet Act.

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*First Published: Feb 7, 2020, 8:24 am