Statement on Mozilla v. FCC Decision

DC Circuit Court decision underscores need for Congress to act on net neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Mozilla v. FCC upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 repeal of the net neutrality rules, but struck down the portion of the agency’s repeal order that preempted states from passing their own rules to enforce strong net neutrality protections. The court also remanded the FCC’s 2017 order back to the agency to address concerns about the repeal’s impact on public safety, the regulation of pole attachments, and the effect of broadband reclassification on the Lifeline Program. 

The following can be attributed to Engine Executive Director Evan Engstrom:

“Today’s DC Circuit Court decision is disappointing, particularly because the court, like the FCC, failed to take seriously the reliance interests of startups, entrepreneurs, and investors on the FCC’s enforcement of net neutrality protections. The startup ecosystem has grown over the past decade precisely because of the FCC’s long history of using its authority to stop abusive ISP practices—authority the current FCC has now abandoned. 

The court’s ruling is not all bad, however, as its rejection of the FCC’s attempt to preempt state laws will ensure that there is some regulatory check on ISP activities that harm edge providers. But preserving state authority to enact net neutrality rules does not remove the need for a uniform federal policy ensuring that all Americans have access to a free and open Internet. 

In fact, the court’s decision underscores how important it is for Congress to take immediate action on the Save the Internet Act, which would fully restore the FCC’s strong 2015 net neutrality rules. The House voted to adopt this legislation in April, and it’s long past time for the Senate to act. Once that legislation passes, it will reinstate the FCC’s popular rules, and ensure that startups, entrepreneurs, and consumers all have equal and open access to the Internet.”