Big Tech to Join Legal Fight Against Net Neutrality Repeal

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“The rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet,” Michael Beckerman, the association’s chief executive, said on Friday.

Netflix, whose data-heavy video streams could face extra charges by internet service providers, also said it would support a legal challenge.

“In 2018, the Internet is united in defense of #NetNeutrality. As for the FCC, we will see you in court,” the company said in a message posted on Twitter.

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The issue of regulating internet service providers to maintain an open internet has wound through the courts and the commission for more than a decade. The repeal in December, led by Ajit Pai, the commission chairman, attracted strong opposition.

Mr. Pai has said the new rules would encourage more investment and innovation by internet service providers. He has also argued that the change would withstand any legal challenge, as it essentially restores the rules to what they were before 2015.

The commission declined to comment on Friday.

Democratic lawmakers in Washington hope to reverse the commission’s action by using the Congressional Review Act, and they have introduced numerous bills that could replace the agency’s rules, although the prospects for those efforts appear weak. States lawmakers in California, New York and Washington are also considering bills that would recreate the 2015 net- neutrality rules in those states.

Public interest groups are trying to make net neutrality an issue in this year’s midterm elections. They have deployed text and email campaigns meant to pressure lawmakers to support a congressional reversal of the commission’s action.

“We’ll be going to court soon to challenge the F.C.C. and ramping up pressure on Congress to throw the rules out altogether,” said Craig Aaron, president of Free Press. Mr. Pai, he said, had “awakened the public.”

The strong response to the repeal has also led to some safety concerns. At the commission meeting where the new rules were approved, law enforcement officials briefly cleared the room to address an unspecified security issue.

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Mr. Pai canceled a scheduled appearance at the tech industry’s CES trade show next week. The commission declined to say why he would not attend, but has previously confirmed that he and his family had recently received threats by phone and email over the net neutrality issue.


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