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Nearly Two Dozen State AGs File Suit to Block FCC's 'Illegal' Net Neutrality Rollback

"Consumers and businesses across the country have the right to a free and open internet, and our coalition of attorneys general won't stop fighting to protect that right."

Demonstrators rally outside the Federal Communication Commission building to protest against the end of net neutrality rules December 14, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Adding to the flood of opposition sparked by the publication of FCC chair Ajit Pai's net neutrality repeal plan in the Federal Register on Thursday, 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia officially filed suit against the Republican-controlled agency over its "illegal" attack on the open internet in a bid to prevent Pai's telecom-friendly rule from going to effect.

"Repealing net neutrality will allow internet service providers to put corporate profits over consumers by controlling what we see, do, and say online."
Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney general

"An open internet, and the free exchange of ideas it allows, is critical to our democratic process," said New York AG Eric Schneiderman, who spearheaded the legal challenge. "Repealing net neutrality will allow internet service providers to put corporate profits over consumers by controlling what we see, do, and say online."

Other states that have joined New York in suing the FCC include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, and Maryland. The 23 AGs initially filed suit last month, but then decided to withdraw their challenge until Pai's plan officially entered the Federal Register.

"Consumers and businesses in New York and across the country have the right to a free and open internet, and our coalition of attorneys general won't stop fighting to protect that right," Schneiderman declared.

In addition to legal challenges filed by states, private companies, and advocacy groups, internet defenders have also scheduled an internet-wide demonstration next week aimed at pressuring lawmakers to pass Sen. Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) Congressional Review Act resolution that would negate Pai's deeply unpopular rule.

Unveiled shortly after the FCC's vote to kill net neutrality in December, Markey's CRA needs just one more vote to reach the simple majority required to pass the Senate. If it passes the Senate, the measure will need 218 votes in the House to proceed to President Donald Trump's desk.

"Momentum keeps growing in favor of restoring Title II protections, and against this FCC and its unjustified attack on internet users," Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, said in a statement on Thursday. "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."

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