By: Ryan Johnston
As many both in the Internet community and out are aware, December 14, 2017 marked the date that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the net neutrality rules put in place by then Chairman Wheeler in 2015. To some this was a step forward in promoting competition between small local and regional service providers, and the national providers that most of us interact with. To others it was the end of an era of fair play online; believing the new rules give service providers the ability to do as they please with no governmental oversight. Regardless of whether the repeal was right or wrong on January 16, 2018, 21 state Attorneys General signed on to a suit against the FCC in opposition of the repeal. On the same day two non-profits, Free Press and Public Knowledge, filed their own suits against the FCC. The major question remains, what is the issue at the heart of these suits? The leader of the suit filed by State AGs, Eric Schneiderman, argues that the policy is arbitrary and capricious because the commission failed to justify the departure from the two-year-old policies in a way supported by the administrative record. Furthermore, Schneiderman’s comments claim that the reclassification of broadband as a Title I information service is based on an erroneous and unreasonable interpretation of the Telecommunications Act. The AGs are also upset that there are broad preemption clauses built into the FCC’s order.