A federal appeals court today upheld the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules, but said the FCC cannot foresee state net neutrality laws.
"We uphold the order of 201
This is a big win for California and other states that enacted their own net neutrality laws after the FCC repeal. California agreed to postpone enforcement of its Net Neutrality Act until after litigation is completely resolved, so the state probably won't enforce the law yet. But after the appeal in the FCC case is exhausted, we could see California and other states enforce net neutrality rules that prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or stamping legitimate Internet traffic and prioritizing traffic in exchange for payment.
arrested the FCC revocation order, saying that the agency must do more justification for the revocation of net neutrality. But more importantly, the judges executed the order of FCC without vacating it saying that the FCC's objections are "mostly convincing." That means the FCC decision to deregulate federal broadband and eliminate net neutrality rules is still in effect.
The decision was made by 2-1 votes by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The decision can be appealed to the entire Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court.
Pai made a statement celebrating the order. "The court upheld the FCC's decision to repeal the 1930s Internet use-style regulation imposed by the previous administration … We look forward to addressing the narrow issues identified by the court," Pai said. Pai's statement did not address the court decision against state law exemptions.
In custody, the FCC must address three issues of waiving net neutrality. In particular, the judges wrote that the FCC "failed to investigate the implications of its public safety decisions" and did not "adequately explain what reclassification would mean for regulating pole attachment." The FCC also did not address opponents' concerns about the effect deregulation will have on the FCC's Lifeline program that subsidizes telephone and Internet access for low-income Americans, the judge wrote.
However, the judges did not contest the FCC's decision to classify broadband as an information service instead of a telecommunications service. Classifying broadband as an information service deregulated the industry and helped the FCC repeal the basic net neutrality rules. The judges said the FCC decision to classify broadband was "a reasonable political choice."
Pai's FCC voted to reclassify broadband and eliminate net neutrality rules in December 2017, leading to the rules coming out of the books in June 2018.
The repeal of the FCC was challenged in court by a coalition of attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups and technology companies such as Mozilla and Vimeo. Oral arguments were held in February 2019.
This is an evolving story and will be updated.