WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit denied a motion to stay enforcement of the FCC’s February Open Internet Order pending final resolution of the petitioners’ legal challenge. The adopted rules will now go into effect tomorrow, June 12th, and remain in effect unless and until a court strikes them down.

Getting a stay is always difficult, so the denial doesn’t say much (if anything at all) about how the case will ultimately be decided,” said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. “Today simply marks the beginning of a protracted legal fight over the legality of the FCC’s takeover of the Internet. If the FCC loses only on its glaring process failures, the court will simply order the FCC to start over again with a new rulemaking, and it will be at least two years before we get an appellate decision on the merits. If the FCC loses on the merits of its reinterpretation of the 1996 Telecom Act, the fight will shift to the Supreme Court, which could take years.

While the courts sort this mess out, the dark cloud of legal uncertainty cast over the Internet will be slowing innovation, curbing investment, and harming consumers,” continued Szoka. “Rather than wait on the courts, Congress should step up and end this fight the way it should have been ended a decade ago: with narrow legislation that addresses core concerns about transparency, blocking and discrimination while taking Title II off the table forever.”

Much as the FCC tries to frame this debate as a fight over net neutrality, it’s actually about imposing Title II on the Internet,” continued Szoka. “The FCC’s justification for reclassifying wireless services equates IP addresses with telephone numbers, and the Internet with the old telephone network. That seems to reverse the FCC’s critical decision in 2004 not to impose Title II on VoIP, which may open the door to Title II regulation of streaming video and other applications. Letting the Order go into effect means the Pandora’s box of broader Internet regulation has been opened.”



About TechFreedom:

TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.