On early Monday morning, the U.S. Appeals Court decided not to rehear a challenge to its decision to uphold the net neutrality rules, known as Title II, from former President Barack Obama.

Its decision comes right after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made it known he will continue with his plan to roll back these net neutrality rules.

Obama’s rules do not allow broadband users to slow or block “rivals’ content.” Netflix and Apple enjoy Obama’s rules, but AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast cannot stand them because those companies want “to slow or even block the transmission of disfavored content.”

USTelecom filed a lawsuit because it believed “the FCC had overstepped its authority in creating the net neutrality rules.” A partial panel of the D.CC Circuit of Appeals rejected this lawsuit.

So USTelecom “requested a review by the full court.” The Hill continued:

“En banc review would be particularly unwarranted at this point in light of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the FCC’s Order,” the decision reads. “The agency will soon consider adopting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would replace the existing rule with a markedly different one.”

“In that light, the en banc court could find itself examining, and pronouncing on, the validity of a rule that the agency had already slated for replacement.”

The judges provided their reasons why they voted not to rehear the case or why they disagree with the rules. The Associated Press reported:

Judge Sri Srinivasan, who helped write the original opinion in favor of net neutrality, said reconsidering the case would be “particularly unwarranted at this point in light of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the FCC’s order.” He noted that the agency would soon consider replacing the policy with a different one.

But Srinivasan said the earlier ruling should stand even apart from the move to repeal net neutrality. He said the rules assure that broadband providers “live up to their promise to consumers of affording them neutral access to internet content of their own choosing.”

In separate dissents, Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Brett Kavanaugh said the FCC took action that should have been left to Congress. Kavanaugh also said the rules violate the First Amendment.

Pai Will Continue Plans to Dismantle the Rules

The ruling did not surprise Pai, but it also has not affected his desire to continue with his plan to end net neutrality.

Last week, Pai unveiled his plans to roll back the net neutrality rules. Pai wants to give back the “regulatory jurisdiction of broadband providers” “to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).” From The Hill:

Pai’s proposed reforms will tackle one of the most controversial portions of net neutrality: the reclassification of broadband providers as “common carriers,” which gives the FCC the authority to regulate them. Broadband service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have hammered these rules, arguing they are unnecessary and that the FCC should not regulate them.

The Republican chairman appears to be taking that argument to heart.

Pai argued how Title II has decimated the market:

“So what happened after the Commission adopted Title II?” he asked.

“Sure enough, infrastructure investment declined,” Pai continued. “Reduced investment means fewer Americans will have high-speed internet access. It means fewer Americans will have jobs. And it means less competition for consumers.”

“It’s basic economics: The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get.”

Democrats and others have passed on comments to the FCC in an attempt to keep the rules. But will that be enough to change the commissioner’s mind? From The Hill:

But in a call with reporters on Thursday, senior FCC officials said they would not give much weight to an influx of comments in support of net neutrality, suggesting they intend to move full steam ahead.

“The comments process does not function as the equivalent of a public opinion survey or poll, and what matters is the quality of the argumentation presented, the facts that are entered into the record, the legal arguments that are placed into the record,” an official said.

Pai plans to visit more conservative media outlets this week to sell his plan. The FCC commissioners will vote whether to keep the rules or not at an open meeting on May 18.


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