Reactions to Court Decision Denying Net Neutrality Stay

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A Federal appeals court declined to halt implementation of new network neutrality regulations, paving the way for the rules to go into effect on June 12. A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied petitions for a temporary stay made by AT&T Inc. and other opponents of the online traffic rules in separate lawsuits.

FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler: “This is a huge victory for Internet consumers and innovators! Starting Friday, there will be a referee on the field to keep the Internet fast, fair and open. Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past. The rules also give broadband providers the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks.”

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: "Because President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is already harming broadband investment and deployment, I am pleased that the D.C. Circuit will be hearing the appeal of President Obama’s plan on an expedited basis. Although I am disappointed that the court did not stay the rules pending its review, this development was not unexpected. The bar for granting any stay is quite high, and I am pleased that the court did not suggest that the rules are in fact legally valid. I welcome the court’s coming examination of the FCC’s 313-page order, during which it will have an opportunity to address the order’s serious procedural and substantive flaws."

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: "I am pleased that the FCC's Open Internet Order and strong rules to ensure there are no slow lanes on the Internet become effective tomorrow. A free and open Internet is vital to our democracy and competitive market. I am proud to stand up for the consumer to protect free speech and a free market."

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly: "I am disappointed by the court’s decision to deny a stay of the Net Neutrality Order. The fight against the Commission’s rules, however, has only just begun, because unless eradicated they will ultimately harm the foundations of the Internet, and limit its possibilities. In the meantime, I will be vigilant in resisting any attempts by the agency to act as a referee enforcing rules known to none of the players and made up along the way."

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel: “The Internet is the most dynamic platform for free speech ever invented and our Internet economy is the envy of the world. Sustaining this platform, which keeps us innovative, fierce, and creative, should not be a choice – it should be an obligation. That’s why I am pleased that the D.C. Circuit declined to stay our Open Internet rules, which will take effect tomorrow.”

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD):
“This decision underscores the need for Congress to find a bipartisan legislative solution to protect, preserve, and promote the free and open Internet. I will continue my work with Ranking Member Nelson to achieve that goal. Edge companies, broadband providers, and Internet users alike all need clear rules of the digital road so they can continue to innovate, invest, and use the Internet with confidence. Only Congress, on a bipartisan basis, can provide that legal certainty.”

Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL): “The rules are now poised to go into effect. While the court conducts its review, I remain committed to finding true bipartisan consensus to take the important protections the FCC put into place and provide the certainty that only legislation can provide. That legislation, though, must fully protect consumers, preserve the FCC’s role, and leave the agency with flexible, forward-looking authority.”

Senate Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Schatz (D-HI):
“The D.C. Circuit’s decision to allow the FCC’s net neutrality rules to fully go into effect is good news for consumers and competition on the Internet. But this litigation is far from over. As a result, I remain open to trying to reach common ground in Congress on a way to enshrine the critical net neutrality protections adopted by the FCC in statute.”

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA): “The news today from the D.C. Circuit Court is clear: the Internet is open for business for everyone. I applaud the court for its decision to deny industry’s requested stay of the FCC’s Open Internet order. Consumers, innovators, activists and entrepreneurs – anyone who counts on the Internet to connect with the world around them – will fully benefit from these essential net neutrality protections.”

House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ): “I am pleased that the court has rejected attempts to delay the strong net neutrality rules put in place by the FCC. The importance of these protections cannot be overstated, and I am glad that consumers across the country will benefit from them as soon as possible.”

House Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA):
“On June 12th millions of Americans will receive what they’ve long asked for: effective, enforceable net neutrality protections to keep the Internet free and open. The Court’s decision today is a critical validation that the new rules to protect an open Internet are grounded in strong legal footing and can endure future challenges by broadband providers. Millions of consumers, entrepreneurs, innovators and others stand by this, and today the Court agreed with them.”

"While we’re disappointed the court declined to grant our stay request, we recognize that the bar for obtaining a stay is exceptionally high," said USTelecom President Walter McCormick. However, the court’s decision to grant expedited briefing shows the gravity of the issues at stake, and will facilitate a quicker path to determining the proper legal treatment for regulating broadband Internet access service."

“Today’s decision by the court to deny the stay request of the FCC’s open Internet rule sends a message of full steam ahead for consumers, start-ups and new network builders," said COMPTEL President Chip Pickering. “The court's decision reaffirms the Federal Communications Commission and Chairman Tom Wheeler’s light-touch approach to deliver the strongest possible protections. We are already seeing the results in the marketplace, as interconnection agreements move forward, helping to deliver more content at a faster rate....[W]e are encouraged by today’s court decision, and stand ready to oppose those seeking to pull up the tracks on Internet access, innovation, and exploration.”

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation:
"The DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision not to stay the FCC’s Open Internet Order is disappointing," said Doug Brake, telecom policy analyst at the ITIF. "The bar to stay an administrative order is quite high; it requires a showing of irreparable harm and a likelihood of success on the merits."

Public Knowledge: "The court has rightly rejected the carriers' arguments. It has seen that their claims that they'd be ‘irreparably harmed’ as a result of having to protect consumers' privacy, and that their businesses depend on restricting consumer choice, are simply not credible. The carriers have also failed to convince the court that they are likely to succeed in their legal case. The FCC's pro-consumer and pro-competition Open Internet rules are going to be in effect as of tomorrow, and that's cause to celebrate. However, the FCC and intervenors like Public Knowledge still have a lot of work to do before the court defending the FCC’s order."

Free Press:
“The D.C. Circuit made the right call, thwarting this latest attempt to strip Internet users of the protections they deserve. The Court recognized what we have long known: The FCC’s open Internet framework poses no threat to broadband providers' business interests. Title II doesn't change the reality that broadband is a great business to be in. Big cable, phone and wireless providers can’t seem to get this part of their story straight. While their lawyers sing one tune before the courts, executives from Comcast, AT&T and the other big ISPs deny that Net Neutrality's legal framework harms their deployment plans in any way. And the FCC decision hasn’t stopped Charter from seeking to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House in deals valued at almost $90 billion. Yet much is at stake for Internet users. They face the constant threat that cable and phone companies will block, slow or degrade their Internet connections. The broadband providers' filing further reveals their plans to exploit consumers by circumventing privacy, accessibility and interconnection obligations. Restoring Internet users’ legal rights and recourse against any such ISP abuse can't wait any longer. The FCC is using Title II’s solid legal foundation to protect the public, returning to the law that a bipartisan Congress wrote for essential communications platforms like broadband access. The agency carefully examined the evidence in the record when it reclassified under Title II, responding to the millions of people who called for this result. We look forward to defending the FCC’s landmark decision on the merits and will continue to fight for the rights of Internet users everywhere.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (FCC) FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai (FCC) FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (FCC) FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly (FCC) FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (FCC) DC Reacts to Court Denial of Title II Stay (Broadcasting & Cable) Nelson Signals Neutrality Bill Still Needed (Broadcasting & Cable) Public Knowledge Applauds Court’s Decision to Keep Net Neutrality Rules in Place (Public Knowledge) Court Denies Latest Phone and Cable Lobby Effort to Overturn Historic Net Neutrality Decision (Free Press) Eshoo Welcomes Court Decision to Implement Net Neutrality Rules (US House) Pallone Statement on Court’s Net Neutrality Decision (House Commerce Committee)