FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday

FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday
© Greg Nash

The Federal Communications Commission is slated to publish on Thursday its order scrapping net neutrality rules, a source with knowledge of the matter told The Hill on Tuesday.

The official publication of the measure, which was first reported by Reuters, in the Federal Register will start the clock on the 60-day window that Congress has to pass a resolution reversing the FCC’s order to get rid of net neutrality rules.

Between Democrats, Independents and Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Overnight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts MORE (R-Maine), 50 senators have backed a Congressional Review Act resolution to preserve the rules — one vote shy of the 51 votes that measure needs to pass the Senate.

If Democrats can get the support of one more Republican, the resolution could be sent to the House, where it is unlikely to advance. And even if the resolution passed both chambers of Congress, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE could veto it.

The order’s publication will open the door for state attorneys general and advocacy groups to launch lawsuits aimed at preserving the rules.

Many state officials, including New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and pro-net neutrality groups have already said that they will file legal challenges on the matter.

The FCC passed Republican Chairman Ajit Pai’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order in December in a 3-2 vote along party lines.

The order rescinds rules that were created under Obama-appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2015 aimed at creating a level playing field on the internet by keeping broadband companies from slowing down and blocking certain types of content.

Pai's move has strong backing among Republicans and broadband companies like AT&T and Comcast, who see the Obama-era rules and onerous and stifling.

Technology companies and public opinion, however, overwhelming favor keeping the net neutrality rules in place.