Today, Alamo Broadband, Inc. and USTelecom each sued (in two separate federal appeals courts) to block the FCC from enforcing its February order, which reclassified broadband providers as Title II common carriers and imposed net neutrality rules considerably broader than what the FCC proposed last May.

This is only the opening salvo in what could be a decade of litigation,” said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. “Lawsuits were inevitable from the moment Chairman Wheeler moved toward heavy-handed regulation of the Internet under Title II. That’s great news for telecom lawyers; it means full employment for years to come. But for many consumers, it means delays in investment and broadband upgrades.”

Today will be remembered as the day Democrats’ bargaining power began to evaporate: They’re never going to get a better deal on net neutrality than right now,“ continued Szoka. “The real question is whether they’ll be able to smother the political fires they’ve stoked — and finally reach a legislative compromise that avoids the legal infirmities of Title II.”

The longer this drags out, the less willing Republicans will be to negotiate, especially as the Republican primaries heat up.” noted Szoka. “That’s only more true if the FCC loses in court for the third time — and especially if either court puts the FCC’s rules on hold during the litigation.”

“Then again, the Administration and the activists who’ve pushed Title II may not really care,” Szoka concluded. ”For them, the point has always been politics — and keeping the fight going, rather than getting the substance right. How else to explain why the FCC didn’t bother to protect itself from its greatest legal vulnerability: the refusal to issue a new NPRM once it changed course to embrace President Obama’s plan? That lapse was surely a function of the absurd politics of net neutrality — and the FCC may be about to pay the price.”


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