Net neutrality critics vow to fight to Supreme Court

Net neutrality critics vow to fight to Supreme Court
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Net neutrality critics on Tuesday vowed to take their challenges to the Supreme Court after a lower court rejected their arguments.    

The flood of statements from internet service providers and their trade groups came quickly after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the entirety of the Federal Communication Commission’s strict regulations of internet service. 

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“We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal,” AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement. 

AT&T and a number of telecom and mobile carrier trade groups launched their challenges last year to the regulation, which reclassified internet service under strict authority. 

The new authority gives the FCC more room to police abusive conduct and require companies that provide internet service to treat all web traffic equally. 

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, another group that challenged the rules, said the decision is unlikely to be the last step in the fight. 

“While this is unlikely the last step in this decade-long debate over Internet regulation, we urge bipartisan leaders in Congress to renew their efforts to craft meaningful legislation that can end ongoing uncertainty, promote network investment, and protect consumers,” the group wrote in a statement. 

CTIA, a large wireless lobbying group, said it would continue to pursue the case through the courts and Congress. 

“The wireless industry remains committed to preserving an open Internet and will pursue judicial and congressional options to ensure a regulatory framework that provides certainty for consumers, investors and innovators,” CTIA president Meredith Attwell Baker said. 

But net neutrality advocates took a victory lap after the court decision. Andrew Schwartzman, a top telecom lawyer who filed a pair of briefs supporting the FCC’s rules, predicted there is a slim chance that the Supreme Court takes up the case. That is because all three judges who decided the case — even Judge Stephen Williams, who dissented — agreed that the FCC had authority to reclassify internet service, the question at the heart of the case. 

“Finally, and importantly, given the nature of this opinion and Judge Williams’ concurrence as to the reclassification issue, the likelihood that the Supreme Court will agree to hear this case is remote,” Schwartzman said. “I’m sure there will be petitions for certiorari, but they are unlikely to be granted.”