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Trade group including Facebook, Google to join lawsuit to block net neutrality repeal

Trade group including Facebook, Google to join lawsuit to block net neutrality repeal
© Greg Nash

The Internet Association, a trade group representing tech giants like Google and Facebook, announced Friday that it will be joining a growing list of net neutrality supporters who plan to sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stop its repeal of the consumer protections.

“The final version of Chairman [Ajit] Pai’s rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers,” Michael Beckerman, the group’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet.”

The group’s members also include Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft and Netflix.

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Pai released the final text of the new rules on Thursday. They get rid of the Obama-era regulations requiring internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

Pai has argued that the 2015 order was too heavy-handed and that existing laws are sufficient to ensure an open internet.

But net neutrality supporters believe that the rules are needed to prevent broadband providers from abusing their control over internet access. Consumer groups, state attorneys general and now a coalition of the world’s biggest tech companies have announced their intention to take the FCC to court.

The Internet Association on Friday also reiterated its call for Congress to come up with a legislative replacement for the rules, a course that most net neutrality supporters reject out of concern that lawmakers won’t be willing to implement sufficient protections.