UPDATED 6:57 A.M. PT — Wed. January 17, 2018
More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to block the repeal of net neutrality guidelines.
“I am announcing my support for a congressional review act resolution that will restore net neutrality and undo the evil repeal of it by the FCC, and all we need is a majority vote in the House and the Senate and it happens,” announced Senator Chuck Schumer.
Less than two months after the Federal Communications Commission moved to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality protections, states have begun to fight back.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, 22 attorneys general from Hawaii to Maine moved to block the FCC’s rollback. Since it’s enactment in 2015, congressional leaders have openly criticized the net neutrality guidelines, saying the rules “stifle investment.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai agrees. While he favors a free and open internet, Pai claims the guidelines do more harm than good, while hindering both consumers and corporations.
“By imposing those heavy handed economic regulations on internet service providers both big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out internet access to a lot of parts of the country: low income and rural parts of the country for example,” Pai stated. “That I think is something no one would benefit from.”
However, the attorneys general involved in the recent lawsuit argue a repeal would be a “disaster to consumers and business,” and would “turn internet service providers into gatekeepers.”
The political battle has begun. In a statement Tuesday, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said 50 Democrats in the Senate support the decision to block the FCC’s decision, but this may not be enough.
If Democrats are successful in the Senate, they would still need to win a majority in the House of Representatives, which is a chamber currently dominated by Republicans.
In the meantime, Ajit Pai says he and his colleagues are continuing to work on creating a replacement to the guidelines, which will benefit both companies and consumers.
“What we’re trying to do going forward is figure out a way to preserve that free and open internet that consumers want and need, and preserve that incentive to invest in the network that will ultimately benefit more consumers going forward,” said Pai.