Free Press Readies Case Against FCC After Ruling Striking Down Net Neutrality Is Published in Federal Register

Contact Info: 

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission order overturning Net Neutrality protections was published in the Federal Register on Thursday morning, triggering a countdown clock for certain legal and congressional actions to overturn the widely unpopular decision.  

Free Press will soon refile a petition for review of the FCC’s Dec. 14 order. This will initiate the organization’s legal case appealing the agency’s decision, which repealed the 2015 open-internet rules and reversed the proper Title II “telecommunications services” classification of broadband-internet access.

Free Press initially filed a preliminary petition for review in January as a protective action just in case the FCC decided to begin the process early for choosing an appellate court to hear the case. Now that the order has been published in the Federal Register, entities wishing to challenge the FCC decision have 10 days to file with the U.S. Court of Appeals to take part in that court-selection process.

The order’s publication also starts the 60-legislative-day countdown for streamlined passage in the Senate of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) “resolution of disapproval.” Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts has stated his intention to introduce a resolution in the Senate, which already has support from 50 senators — one vote shy of the number needed to pass in that chamber.

Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania plans to introduce the resolution in the House, where it already has more than 140 co-sponsors. The resolution’s passage would undo the FCC’s Dec. 14 decision.

The FCC vote destroying the communications rights of internet users has met with a significant public backlash, with large majorities of voters from both parties saying they support keeping the 2015 safeguards in place. Since December, more than 25 states have begun work on legislation or signed executive orders supporting Net Neutrality protections for their residents.

An internet-wide day of action is set for Feb. 27, when internet users, small businesses, online communities, public-interest groups and popular websites will harness their reach to flood lawmakers with calls, emails and tweets aimed at securing the final vote in the Senate needed to pass the CRA resolution.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement:

“As we’ve made clear from the beginning, Free Press will sue the FCC over its decision to gut Net Neutrality safeguards. The legal arguments and economic evidence are clear. The FCC was dead wrong to repeal rules that prevented discrimination just as Congress intended, and that rightly classified internet-access providers as common carriers under the law.

“Chairman Pai and his Republican colleagues at the FCC have ignored the fact that the 2015 rules were working for everyone, as broadband investment and deployment continued under the Title II-based protections the Pai FCC struck down.

“Pai also ignored irregularities in the agency’s own commenting procedures. The agency’s docket shows there was an unprecedented public outcry supporting the Net Neutrality rules, but there were also fraudulent submissions that the FCC refused to investigate.

“Momentum keeps growing in favor of restoring Title II protections, and against this FCC and its unjustified attack on internet users. Millions of people have spoken out because they recognize how crucial the open internet is to fighting for racial justice, preserving free expression, and promoting innovation and economic opportunity. Lawmakers have signed up by the hundreds to overturn the FCC’s decision. And the courts will have their say as they begin to assess the legal and factual errors underlying the FCC’s wrongheaded repeal.”