Common Cause Condemns FCC Net Neutrality Remand Order

Today, the FCC majority voted to approve an Order on Remand responding to questions raised by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on the agency’s 2017 net neutrality repeal. The Court’s remand highlights the many serious questions the FCC ignored in 2017 when repealing net neutrality including the impact to public safety, broadband competition, and affordable broadband for low-income consumers. The FCC’s Order on Remand concludes that the agency’s deregulation of broadband outweighs any harms to public safety, competition, and affordable broadband.

Statement of Michael Copps, Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Adviser 

“With this decision, the FCC continues to put the interests of a handful of monopoly internet service providers over the needs of the American people. Net Neutrality has always been more than just bright line rules preventing ISPs from discriminating against internet traffic.  It’s about ensuring consumers have adequate protections and affordable and competitive broadband services when going online. The FCC’s failure to consider all aspects of its net neutrality repeal only highlights the need for strong rules that ensure the agency has adequate authority to act as a cop on the beat to protect consumers in an uncompetitive broadband marketplace.

“This decision also continues a troubling pattern of the FCC turning a blind eye to Court decisions. First, the FCC ignored the Third Circuit’s media ownership decision directing the agency to examine the impact changing its media ownership rules would have on ownership diversity. Now, the FCC is ignoring the DC Circuit’s net neutrality remand, directing the agency to adequately consider what impact repealing net neutrality would have on public safety, the Lifeline program, and pole attachment regulation. How conservative is it to continuously ignore the rule of law?

“Broadband has never been more critical to our democracy and everyday life than it is now during a global pandemic. But Americans are continuing to suffer the consequences of the FCC’s abdication of authority with so many still struggling to afford connectivity or choose from more than one broadband provider. Without adequate authority, the FCC has weakened its ability to ensure that ISPs maintain robust connections let alone fully address the broadband connectivity needs of all Americans during the pandemic.”