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Internet Association Joins Other Advocacy Groups To File Intervenor Brief To Save Net Neutrality

BECKERMAN: “It’s indisputable that net neutrality protections help consumers, promote innovation, and foster competition online.”


Washington, DC – Internet Association today, along with Entertainment Software Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, and Writers Guild of America West, filed an intervenor brief in Mozilla Corporation v. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as part of the broad effort to restore the net neutrality rules that the FCC repealed in 2017. The brief explains that the FCC had no rational basis to repeal the robust, enforceable net neutrality rules created by the 2015 Open Internet Order, and in doing so, ignored both the record and the Commission’s own prior analysis.

“It’s indisputable that net neutrality protections help consumers, promote innovation, and foster competition online,” said IA President & CEO Michael Beckerman. “Strong net neutrality protections ensure that consumers, not ISPs decide what websites and apps you can use. Chairman Pai’s 2017 rules took these protections away from consumers, and IA will continue our fight to restore them in every available venue.”

“The FCC’s 2017 order repealing net neutrality was unwise, unwarranted, and unlawful. The internet must remain open and free from unreasonable traffic discrimination. ESA, joined by other stakeholders, seeks reinstatement of sensible protections for consumers and competition,” stated Stan Pierre-Louis, senior vice president and general counsel of the ESA.

“This order should not be allowed to stand,” said Ed Black, President & CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which represents both Internet companies and mobile Internet Service Providers. ” As the court considers this case, policymakers who care about internet access for citizens, businesses, and critical services that rely on connectivity in their Districts, should be doing all they can to restore net neutrality. CCIA appreciates our allies coming together to offer substantial legal arguments on why the FCC’s action last year violated the law and why the open internet is crucial for our economy and America’s global competitiveness.”

The brief outlines three key ways the FCC acted arbitrarily and capriciously in rolling back net neutrality protections:

  1. The FCC incorrectly asserts that brightline rules aren’t necessary to protect the open internet. From the filing:
    • “The broadband marketplace cannot effectively discipline ISP gatekeepers because a lack of competition and high switching costs prevent even fully-informed consumers from responding to unwanted ISP practices. General consumer protection laws provide no clear protection against non-neutral ISP practices so long as they are disclosed, and antitrust laws were neither intended nor designed to address the net neutrality harms at issue here.”
  2. The FCC failed to assess the costs and benefits of stripping net neutrality protections from the books. From the filing:
    • “The FCC claims that the costs of the net neutrality conduct rules outweigh their benefits. That flawed analysis runs counter to the record and departs from the Commission’s previous factual findings without explanation. It misconstrues and misunderstands the limited record evidence that credibly addressed the 2015 Order’s impact on investment by ISPs. And it fails to adequately acknowledge the benefits from enforceable net neutrality protections that were identified in the 2015 Order and established in the record.”
  3. The FCC’s claim to have no legal authority to adopt net neutrality protections flies in the face of previous rulings. From the filing:
    • “According to the Commission, the conduct rules have to be repealed because it has no authority to adopt them. That rests on a fundamental misreading of the Commission’s authority. The Commission entirely disclaims authority it possesses under this Court’s precedent, while exceeding its authority under the only source of authority the Order recognized—the now-repealed Section 257(c) of the Communications Act. ”

To read the full brief, click here.