Yesterday, Common Cause joined The Greenlining Institute, Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, 18 Million Rising, Media Alliance, and Media Mobilizing Project in filing an amicus brief urging the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to vacate the Federal Communications Commission’s unlawful repeal of net neutrality. The groups argued that the FCC’s net neutrality rules are critical for civic engagement, civil rights, and democracy, particularly for communities of color.
Statement of Michael Copps, Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Adviser
The FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules established a framework that ensured the internet remained open for free speech, civic engagement, economic opportunity, and innovation. The rules were upheld in court twice proving they were legally sound and supported by evidence that monopoly internet service providers have the economic ability and incentive to degrade our access to the internet. But the current FCC ignored all of this and repealed net neutrality, creating a wild west where ISPs are free to block, throttle, or create fast lanes and slow lanes. This unlawful repeal was a direct attack on our democracy that will lead to the “cable-ization” of the internet – where internet service providers can control what we do, what we see, and where we go online.
The FCC didn’t just stop at repealing net neutrality. It ignored years of precedent under both Republican and Democratic leadership and completely abdicated its authority over broadband. The FCC plays a critical role in overseeing ISPs to preserve our fundamental values of consumer protection, universal service, and competition, that all Americans expect when going online. The FCC illegally abandoned its responsibility and left consumers without a cop on the beat to police any harmful practices of monopoly telephone and cable companies.
We urge the D.C. Circuit to vacate the FCC’s reckless and unlawful repeal so we can return to a framework that ensured the internet remained free and open for everyone.
To read the brief, click here.