More Major Companies Join Net Neutrality Battle

By: David Morris

The Internet Association, a trade group that counts Airbnb, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other giants as members, said Friday that it will join in legal action aimed at restoring net neutrality regulations. The announcement came after the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday released the final version of its repeal decision, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which was approved on December 14.

The order opens the door for internet service providers to throttle, block, or charge more for certain content. Major internet retailers, content providers, and social media companies fear ISPs could start charging them for faster connections, which would also present a roadblock to smaller startups.

Supporters of the rollback say it encourages greater investment in internet infrastructure and, perhaps more importantly, aligns with free-market ideology.

The Internet Association said it will “act as an intervener in a judicial action against this order.” An intervener, while not a direct litigant, is granted certain rights by a court to comment or act in a case.

Since the FCC vote to repeal net neutrality rules in December, opponents of the decision have been preparing to fight it in the courts. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has said he will sue to block the decision, in part on the basis of millions of apparently fraudulent public comments submitted prior to the vote. Legal challenges may also argue that the decision oversteps the FCC’s procedural authority to change rules, though courts have in the past given the agency broad leeway.

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