U.S. Appeals Court Won’t Reconsider Net Neutrality

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided not to reconsider an October ruling that upheld the repeal of net neutrality rules. The court declined without comment. Personally, I think the court’s lack of explanation as to why they chose to ignore the request from 15 states and several advocacy groups – is cowardly.

According to Reuters, petitions were filed by the Consumer & Communications Industry Association, internet trade group INCOMPAS, and others. Members of Amazon.com, Inc. Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc., and Google parent Alphabet also filed petitions.

Free Press, an advocacy group, posted a press release about the court’s denial of the request to rehear the courts decision in Mozilla v. FCC. It stated that in October of 2019, the court upheld the FCC’s Net Neutrality repeal and broadband classification order, but reversed the FCC’s in its attempt to preempt all state Net Neutrality laws.

The court remanded the case to the FCC because the agency failed to address how repeals would impact public safety, the Lifeline broadband-subsidy program for low-income people, and broadband providers’ access to public rights of way.

In December, Free Press filed a petition for the rehearing, along with New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society and the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

Free Press notes that the denial of rehearing that request “starts the clock on potential further appeals.” Parties have at least 90 days to consider seeking Supreme Court review. According to Reuters, Mozilla, who also fought the net neutrality repeal, said it was considering “next steps”.

In short, this isn’t over yet. But, personally, I’m not sure I trust the current Supreme Court to do the right thing and uphold net neutrality. Reuters notes that in April of 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reinstate net neutrality protections, but the Republican-led Senate refused to consider it.

No matter what political party you prefer, there is one thing we all agree on. No one wants to have their internet throttled. It doesn’t make sense for the courts to go against the will of the American people regarding net neutrality protections.