A federal court rejected a bid by cable and telecom companies to block net-neutrality rules Thursday, paving the way for the expansive new Internet regulations to take effect Friday.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a relief to the Federal Communications Commission, which enacted the rules in February. But the legal battle over net neutrality is far from over.
Associations for the cable providers, telecom companies, and cellular carriers plan to continue their fight to repeal the rules after they take effect. The groups warn the regulations will stifle investment in broadband networks, ultimately leading to worse Internet service for everyone.
In a brief statement, the three judge panel of the D.C. Circuit said that the Internet providers had “not satisfied the stringent requirements” needed to suspend the rules while their lawsuit is pending.
The court did grant the request from both the companies and the FCC to fast-track the case to get a final ruling as soon as possible.
“This is a huge victory for Internet consumers and innovators!” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. “Starting Friday, there will be a referee on the field to keep the Internet fast, fair and open.”
The FCC’s net-neutrality rules bar Internet providers from blocking websites, selectively slowing down traffic, or creating “fast lanes” for sites that pay. Supporters of the rules argue that they are necessary to keep Internet providers from acting as gatekeepers and controlling what people can access online. President Obama, who promised to support net neutrality in his 2008 campaign, urged the FCC last November to enact the “strongest possible” rules.
The FCC first enacted net-neutrality rules in 2010, but the D.C. Circuit struck them down in early 2014. In attempt to bolster the chances of the new rules in court, the FCC dramatically expanded its own regulatory authority. The new rules classify Internet service under the same regulatory regime as telephones.
The industry groups argue that Congress never intended to subject Internet service to such a burdensome regulatory classification. The commission’s decision also violates rules for agency procedures, they claim.
The Internet providers say they only oppose classifying Internet service as a utility, and not the principle of net neutrality itself. But the FCC argues that overturning the regulatory classification would leave the rules unenforceable.
The industry groups said the D.C. Circuit’s ruling was disappointing, but not unexpected. Convincing a court to block rules before they even take effect is usually a legal long shot. But the groups praised the court for agreeing to expedite their lawsuit.
“We are now ready to get to the merits of the case and are confident as ever that we will prevail,” the National Cable and Telecommunications Association said in a statement.
What We're Following See More »
The arrest warrant has been in place since September of 2016, and covered "the entirety of Gorka's White House stint," a Hungarian media outlet reported. It could be related to an incident from 2009, although not much is known about the details of the warrant. The former Trump counterterrorism advisor "has been outspoken about his love of firearms" and was once stopped by police for attempting to bring a handgun into an airliner at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Gorka, who was never able to gain a security clearance, declined to comment on the story.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Senior House negotiators are set to unveil as soon as Thursday a bipartisan plan to shake up Capitol Hill’s workplace harassment system — and to force lawmakers found liable for misconduct to pay settlements with their own money. ... The Hill's Office of Compliance, which adjudicates workplace harassment claims, would release a report every six months on misconduct settlements, including the identities of the offices involved."