The press freedom advocacy group Free Press expressed confidence on Thursday in its challenge to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) repeal of net neutrality protections as it filed a federal suit against the agency-approved rule change that would end one of the founding principles of the Internet.
"Free Press has a rock-solid legal argument against the FCC's repeal of the Net Neutrality rules," said Matt Wood, Free Press's policy director, in a statement. "The agency is dead wrong to think it can take away nondiscrimination protections, grounded in Title II of the Communications Act, that prevent ISPs from picking and choosing what speech they'll transmit and what they'll block or degrade."
"Lawmakers in Congress and the states are signing up by the hundreds to protect Net Neutrality. The courts will have their say, too, as they begin to assess the legal and factual errors underlying the FCC’s wrongheaded repeal."—Matt Wood, Free Press
The FCC's 3-2 vote, along party lines, came after an anti-net neutrality campaign mounted by President Donald Trump's appointed chairman, Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lobbyist.
The repeal of the rules would allow internet service providers to discriminate against certain websites, control download speeds, and charge users extra fees for broader access.
Just before the FCC's vote in December, 83 percent of Americans polled by the University of Maryland said they opposed the repeal. Since the panel went ahead with its decision, 25 states have signed executive orders or proposed legislation to protect the rules, while 50 senators have supported a resolution to nullify the FCC's order.
"Net Neutrality supporters are gathering momentum both on the legal and political fronts," said Wood. "Millions of people spoke out this week because they recognize how crucial the open internet is to promoting racial justice, free expression, innovation and economic opportunity. Lawmakers in Congress and the states are signing up by the hundreds to protect Net Neutrality. The courts will have their say, too, as they begin to assess the legal and factual errors underlying the FCC’s wrongheaded repeal."