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Court appeal filed to reconsider net neutrality

By Ed Adamczyk
Court appeal filed to reconsider net neutrality
A coalition of Internet companies and users filed an appeal in the D.C,. Court of Appeals to revisit the Federal Communications Commission's decision to change rules regarding net neutrality. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Internet companies and advocacy organizations, led by software group Mozilla, filed a court appeal Friday to rehear a decision on repealing net neutrality rules.

The appeal seeks a review by the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals of an October decision by a three-judge panel. The decision repealed net neutrality rules established in 2015, a concept that demands that Internet Service Providers refrain from favoring one customer over another. The rules were repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, whose chairman, Ajit Pai, was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017.

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Under current rules, ISPs can selectively block or advance Internet traffic, although the FCC has argued that existing antitrust or commercial protection laws would stop most discriminatory actions. The new rules also bar states from passing net neutrality rulers of their own. They were upheld by a district court and then by the D.C. Court of Appeals, which struck down the section involving states' rights to pass regulations.

"The decision raises issues of exceptional importance to protecting consumers and the open Internet, and we look forward to continuing the fight to preserve net neutrality as a fundamental digital right," said Mozilla lawyer Amy Keating in a statement Friday. The petitioners say that the FCC's overturning of the rules conflicts with prior court rulings, adding that the three-judge panel misinterpreted legal precedent over the FCC's regulatory powers.

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If the petition is successful, the full appeals court will rehear the case. It was filed on Friday by Mozilla, Etsy, Vimeo, Incompas and the Ad Hoc Telecom Users Committee.

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