Incumbent telco, cable lobbies ACA, NCTA, USTelecom line up to defend FCC’s net neutrality repeal

Net Neutrality
ISP lobbyist groups file arguments with California court hearing the arguments about the pending net neutrality case. (iStock/mindscanner)

As a California court gets ready to hear arguments to reinstate the 2015 net neutrality rules put in place by former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, incumbent ISPs and their lobbying groups have filed motions to uphold the net neutrality rules repeal. 

San Francisco’s 9th Circuit court was recently selected by lottery to hear the case challenging the FCC's ruling last December to reclassify ISPs as information service providers under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.

The FCC’s action, which overturned the prior FCC's 2015 ruling that classified ISPs as common carriers, was carried out in December amid backlash from consumer groups and support from ISPs.

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RELATED: FCC overturns current net neutrality rules amid commission, industry group protest

On Thursday, three trade groups that collectively represent the U.S.-based Tier 1 Internet and wireless providers filed motions to intervene in the case on behalf of the FCC. The motions for leave to intervene were filed by NCTA (The Internet & Television Association), CTIA (The Wireless Association) and USTelecom (The Broadband Association).

NCTA represents cable MSOs including Comcast, Charter, Cox and Altice. CTIA represents the biggest mobile carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. Finally, USTelecom represents wireline telcos such as AT&T and Verizon. Each of these groups also represents a range of independent service providers.

Jonathan Spalter, CEO of USTelecom, said in a statement that it in its filing as an intervenor is to support what it says is the FCC’s effort to pave “the way for broadband companies to continue investing vigorously in stronger, faster networks, free from the bureaucratic straightjacket of outdated regulations.”

NCTA struck a similar tone in its filing. The cable industry lobby said that if the FCC lost its case, its members would have to abide by "common-carriage regulation under Title II of the Communications Act.”

CTIA said that its members "would be adversely affected if the [net neutrality] Order were set aside and the prior Title II Order classification and rules were reinstated."

Joining this trio, the American Cable Association (ACA) filed a motion to intervene in the case with the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 9th Circuit.

These groups are facing strong protest from three dozen entities, including Democratic attorneys general from 22 states, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies such as Mozilla, Vimeo, and Etsy. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit consolidated 12 lawsuits against the FCC seeking to overturn the net neutrality repeal.  

The Internet Association—a lobby group for Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, and other Web companies—previously announced plans to intervene in order to support the lawsuit against the FCC. However, the group hasn't filed its motion to intervene yet.

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