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States Re-File Lawsuit Against FCC To Challenge Net Neutrality Repeal

One day after the FCC’s formal repeal of net neutrality regulation was published, a coalition of states has re-filed its lawsuit challenging the order.

On February 22, the FCC published its formal action, the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” for repealing Obama-era net neutrality regulations. It follows the FCC’s December 14 vote to roll back Title II classification for ISPs. The order will come into effect on April 23 and will effectively remove direct government oversight and regulation of ISPs, allowing them to use unfair tactics in their business.

Among the first initiatives to oppose the repeal was a lawsuit filed by a coalition of 22 states and Washington DC. The initial petition was just a first step in the coalition's attempt to appeal the FCC’s decision. With the repeal now formalized as the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the coalition has re-filed its petition “to formally commence their lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission’s illegal rollback of net neutrality.”

The coalition, which includes Attorneys General from New York, California, and Massachusetts, among others, is led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who was an active opponent of the repeal during the lead up to the December 14 vote. His office published the following statement on the petition:

An open internet, and the free exchange of ideas it allows, is critical to our democratic process. Repealing net neutrality will allow internet service providers to put corporate profits over consumers by controlling what we see, do, and say online. Consumers and businesses in New York and across the country have the right to a free and open internet, and our coalition of Attorneys General won’t stop fighting to protect that right.

The coalition’s lawsuit wasn’t the only action opposing the FCC’s decision. In the wake of the vote, many initiatives were started to preserve net neutrality. Montana was the first to implement state-level net-neutrality regulation by baring non-net-neutral ISPs from government contracts. This was followed by similar actions in New York and New Jersey. The California Senate passed a bill to illegalize non-net-neutral practices among ISPs within the state, but the EFF advised that it will likely be overruled by federal courts. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, have been attempting to assemble the 51 majority they need to pass a repeal of the FCC’s order. To go into effect, though, the act would also have to pass in the House of Representatives, where it has a slim chance of doing so.