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FCC Requests Transfer of Net Neutrality Legal Challenges to DC Circuit Court

 |  June 9, 2024

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formally requested that the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati transfer multiple legal challenges against its decision to reinstate landmark net neutrality rules to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The request, made on Friday, seeks to centralize the legal proceedings in a court familiar with the FCC’s open-internet regulations.

Net neutrality rules mandate that internet service providers (ISPs) treat all internet data equally, prohibiting practices such as blocking content, throttling speeds, or providing preferential treatment to specific users. These regulations also ban special agreements where ISPs offer enhanced network speeds or access to favored clients.

According to Reuters, the 6th Circuit Court was randomly selected to handle the challenges after they were filed in seven different circuit courts. The FCC argues that consolidating the cases in the D.C. Circuit Court would be “most efficient, and in the interest of justice,” citing the court’s extensive history of adjudicating FCC open-internet rule cases.

“The D.C. Circuit has repeatedly engaged with the FCC concerning the lawful contours of the open-internet rules,” the commission stated, highlighting the court’s expertise in these matters.

In a separate decision, the FCC rejected a plea from industry groups representing major ISPs, including AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, to stay the enforcement of the net neutrality order set to take effect on July 22. The FCC emphasized that delaying the order would impede its ability to fulfill other policy goals, particularly those related to national security and public safety.

The industry groups had argued that the net neutrality regulations would cause them irreparable harm. However, the FCC dismissed these claims, noting that the groups failed to provide “any concrete evidence” of such harm.

The reinstatement of net neutrality rules marks a significant regulatory shift aimed at ensuring an open and fair internet for all users. The outcome of the legal challenges and the FCC’s request to move the cases to the D.C. Circuit Court will play a crucial role in shaping the future of internet governance in the United States.

Source: Reuters