The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Be Official In April (Cue The Lawsuits)

from the only-just-begun dept

While the FCC formally voted to kill net neutrality late last year, the actual repeal of the rules doesn’t occur until the repeal itself is published in the Federal Register. Sources tell Reuters that with Ajit Pai’s agency having completed the finishing touches on its repeal, the publication should finally happen this week. Once that happens, there’s a 60 day window before the actual repeal takes effect, meaning the rules will formally end in April:

“The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to publish on Thursday its December order overturning the landmark Obama-era net neutrality rules, two sources briefed on the matter said Tuesday.”

Of course that’s really just the beginning of an entirely new chapter in the fight to prevent broadband monopolies from abusing a lack of competition in the broadband space (remember: net neutrality violations are just a symptom of a lack of competition, a problem nobody wants to seriously address for fear of upsetting campaign contributors).

The publication in the Federal Register opens the door to the myriad lawsuits that will be filed against the agency. Those lawsuits range from suits by Mozilla and consumer groups, to the 22 state attorneys general who say they’re also suing the agency for ignoring the public interest. These lawsuits must be filed within the next 60 days. Expect the court battle to quickly begin heating up in March.

The publication also starts the 60 day shot clock on net neutrality activists’ attempts to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC’s repeal. As we’ve noted that effort needs just one more vote in the Senate, but faces a steep uphill climb in getting approval in the House, where ISP-loyal lawmakers are even more common. It would then require the signature of President Trump, something unlikely to happen. The gambit does have one primary benefit: it will force lawmakers to put their disdain for net neutrality and the will of the public down on paper ahead of the looming midterms.

That said, the lawsuits have a fairly solid shot at reversing the FCC’s attack on the rules thanks to numerous missteps by the agency. As we’ve well documented, the FCC turned a blind eye to identity theft and comment fraud during the repeal by “someone” clearly trying to downplay massive public opposition to the FCC’s plan. The FCC also made up a DDOS attack for the same purpose, and used debunked lobbyist data as the cornerstone of the repeal. Expect a lot more data on this behavior to surface during the court challenge.

As we’ve noted previously, you can expect ISPs to remain on their best behavior for the foreseeable future. Comcast, AT&T and Verizon policy marionettes will be eager to try and suggest that concerns about the repeal were hyperbole. ISP lawyers also won’t be keen on providing any ammunition to help opponents in court. And since the next FCC or a future congress could just pass net neutrality rules again — ISP lobbyists and compromised politicians are busy pushing fake net neutrality legislation with only one real purpose: prevent real, tough rules from being passed later.

It’s worth reiterating that ISPs aren’t just killing net neutrality here. They’re actively eroding most meaningful state and federal (FTC and FCC) oversight over a broken, uncompetitive market. And should ISPs successfully navigate all court challenges and pass their desired legislation codifying federal apathy into law, the result won’t be subtle. Anybody that thinks otherwise hasn’t watched Comcast do business the last few decades.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Be Official In April (Cue The Lawsuits)”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

maybe easier said than done but the way forward is to get rid of the self-serving politicians who keep accepting the bribes (and yes, they ARE BRIBES!) from the likes of Verizon and Comcast, just to enable their dominance to continue, stifle competition, keep their ability to screw customers and get tax breaks/tax incentives, then doing absolutely nothing to the shit service offered, and vote in someone who will actually grow a pair and do something they are supposed to be in office to do, ie, assist their voters!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

NEVER let a bad situation go to waste.

History shows that the easiest way to get people to “give up” their essential liberties for temporary safety is to “create” a problem.

History also shows that the tools/weapons citizens give government are more often than not, turned against those they were intended to protect.

I hope you guys are ready for more, we are not even close to the end of this problem.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Chip, the politicians who are on our side (government) on this issue are challenging the FCC (government) on this issue in the courts (also government) based on complaints of violations of the law of the land (also government).

Which part of government (and/or governmental tools, i.e. laws and courts) do you have the problem with, please?

Anonymous Coward says:

Why is this so difficult to understand and make work? ISPs provide a pipe. I know lets’s just tell them “You provide a service. You are not allowed to do anything to the traffic that flows thru your service. You may not slow it it down, you may not speed it up, you may not charge more or less for any traffic that flows thru your service. You provide the pipe. If you want to also provide info that flows thru your network fine but you can not prioritize it’s flow, you can discount the subscription cost of your content but nothing else”

The FCC would just make sure that this happens. No fancy language. Just enumerate what the ISPs may NOT do. Then make sure they don’t.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
04:48 Dumb Telecom Take Of The Week: Because The Internet Didn't Explode, Killing Net Neutrality Must Not Have Mattered (23)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
04:55 Axios Parrots A Lot Of Dumb, Debunked Nonsense About Net Neutrality (54)
10:50 NY AG Proves Broadband Industry Funded Phony Public Support For Attack On Net Neutrality (10)
06:24 The GOP Is Using Veterans As Props To Demonize Net Neutrality (22)
06:03 Telecom Using Veterans As Props To Demonize California's New Net Neutrality Law (12)
09:32 AT&T Whines That California Net Neutrality Rules Are Forcing It To Behave (11)
06:23 The New York Times (Falsely) Informs Its 7 Million Readers Net Neutrality Is 'Pointless' (51)
15:34 Facebook's Australian News Ban Did Demonstrate The Evil Of Zero Rating (18)
04:58 'Net Neutrality Hurt Internet Infrastructure Investment' Is The Bad Faith Lie That Simply Won't Die (11)
05:48 Dumb New GOP Talking Point: If You Restore Net Neutrality, You HAVE To Kill Section 230. Just Because! (66)
06:31 DOJ Drops Ridiculous Trump-Era Lawsuit Against California For Passing Net Neutrality Rules (13)
06:27 The Wall Street Journal Kisses Big Telecom's Ass In Whiny Screed About 'Big Tech' (13)
10:45 New Interim FCC Boss Jessica Rosenworcel Will Likely Restore Net Neutrality, Just Not Yet (5)
15:30 Small Idaho ISP 'Punishes' Twitter And Facebook's 'Censorship' ... By Blocking Access To Them Entirely (81)
05:29 A Few Reminders Before The Tired Net Neutrality Debate Is Rekindled (13)
06:22 U.S. Broadband Speeds Jumped 90% in 2020. But No, It Had Nothing To Do With Killing Net Neutrality. (12)
12:10 FCC Ignores The Courts, Finalizes Facts-Optional Repeal Of Net Neutrality (19)
10:46 It's Opposite Day At The FCC: Rejects All Its Own Legal Arguments Against Net Neutrality To Claim It Can Be The Internet Speech Police (13)
12:05 Blatant Hypocrite Ajit Pai Decides To Move Forward With Bogus, Unconstitutional Rulemaking On Section 230 (178)
06:49 FCC's Pai Puts Final Bullet In Net Neutrality Ahead Of Potential Demotion (25)
06:31 The EU Makes It Clear That 'Zero Rating' Violates Net Neutrality (6)
06:22 DOJ Continues Its Quest To Kill Net Neutrality (And Consumer Protection In General) In California (11)
11:08 Hypocritical AT&T Makes A Mockery Of Itself; Says 230 Should Be Reformed For Real Net Neutrality (28)
06:20 Trump, Big Telecom Continue Quest To Ban States From Protecting Broadband Consumers (19)
06:11 Senators Wyden And Markey Make It Clear AT&T Is Violating Net Neutrality (13)
06:31 Net Neutrali-what? AT&T's New Streaming Service Won't Count Against Its Broadband Caps. But Netflix Will. (25)
06:23 Telecom's Latest Dumb Claim: The Internet Only Works During A Pandemic Because We Killed Net Neutrality (49)
13:36 Ex-FCC Staffer Says FCC Authority Given Up In Net Neutrality Repeal Sure Would Prove Handy In A Crisis (13)
06:27 Clarence Thomas Regrets Brand X Decision That Paved Way For The Net Neutrality Wars (11)
More arrow