Statements from organizations and companies regarding Mozilla Corp v. FCC oral arguments

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Chris Lewis, Vice President at Public Knowledge:

“An Open Internet is vital to democracy, free expression, competition, equality, and economic growth. Net Neutrality is common-sense policy designed to ensure that basic communications infrastructure is open and available to everyone, that lets broadband providers make the money they need to cover costs and fund new investment but does not allow them to act as gatekeepers and rent collectors. If the current policy stands, consumers can expect higher bills and fewer online choices, with fewer expressive and creative outlets. Ultimately, the internet will look more and more like the overpriced cable TV bundles of decades past.

But we're not just going into court to argue that the FCC made a policy mistake. It broke the law, too. The FCC simply failed in its responsibility to engage in reasoned decision-making. In abdicating its oversight over broadband, it adopted legal theories that disregard D.C. Circuit and Supreme Court precedent, and effectively rewrote the Communications Act. The FCC emphasized industry submissions that purport to show that reclassification decreased network investment, while ignoring contrary statements from the same industry parties made to investors, as well as other evidence that undercuts its case. The FCC even claims to preempt state law without having, under its own theories, any authority to do so.

In short, the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband was both hasty and sloppy. The agency adopts unreasonable readings of the law and violates the Administrative Procedures Act. For these reasons, we are confident that the court will vacate the FCC's decision.”  

Denelle Dixon, COO of Mozilla:

“Net neutrality is an essential consumer protection that everyone online deserves, and this case is the fight to save it. We look forward to Friday's hearing before the Court.”

Francella Ochillo, Vice President of Policy & General Counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition:

“Latinos continue to be one of the most disconnected populations, and the net neutrality repeal put access even further out of reach. Why the FCC voluntarily relinquished its authority to regulate while ceding power to ISPs that have financial incentives to slow down, censor, or block content online is a question that warrants investigation. Meanwhile, we urge the Court to side with consumers, recognizing that the internet, a network that was started with public funds, is a universal platform that should remain accessible all.”  

Loida Garcia-Febo, President of the American Library Association:

“ALA is committed to equitable and open access to the internet, and we believe the courts will rule in our favor," said American Library Association (ALA) President Loida Garcia-Febo. “Network neutrality protections are crucial for our nation's libraries and the communities we serve because they empower online participation and free expression for all. Among other errors, the FCC ignored the impacts on libraries and institutions of higher learning in its decision to eliminate the 2015 Open Internet rules. This arbitrary decision has imperiled the internet as an unbiased platform for research, learning and information sharing, and that decision should be reversed. We will continue to fight for strong, enforceable net neutrality protections in every venue available.”

Adrianne B. Furniss, Executive Director of the Benton Foundation and Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Benton Senior Counselor:

“On February 1, 2019, the Benton Foundation joins a host of public interest organizations, states, and businesses that are arguing that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit should overturn the December 2017 Federal Communications Commission order that eliminated strong, enforceable net neutrality rules.

No one argues that widespread use of the internet has changed the ways we live, play, work, learn, and speak. Businesses reach customers, patients visit doctors, teachers instruct students, farmers grow food, candidates run for office – all using the internet.

As vast as the internet’s uses – and users – are, for each of us our access to the global network of networks comes down to the practices of the companies that offer us broadband internet access service. Benton’s efforts in court hope to ensure the rights of internet users to employ any legal applications, content, devices, and services of their choosing on the broadband networks they rely on. We want to make sure that the internet remains a non-discriminatory platform for all consumers, content creators, and innovators, regardless of their ability to pay infrastructure owners special fees for special access. For us, these are the qualities that make the internet the internet as we know it.

An internet without net neutrality is a threat to free speech and democratic participation online. Without net neutrality protections, broadband providers are free to interfere with lawful content and services.

An internet without net neutrality will stifle innovation. Broadband providers will be able to favor their own content and services over that of other speakers and impede new services from ever getting a chance to enter the marketplace

An internet without net neutrality will hurt small businesses most as broadband providers impose fees for priority access to their customers.

It’s not just about the breadth of opportunities the internet can deliver, or how swiftly we can grow our economy. Fundamentally, the future of net neutrality is about the future of our democracy and what we as a society are able to achieve together.

We will continue to fight for it.”

Evan Engstrom, Executive Director of Engine

"The FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules kept the internet a level playing field for startups. In the wake of the agency's decision to do away with those protections—which was done without adequately considering the impact it would have on the thriving U.S. startup ecosystem and the venture capital that supports that ecosystem—we're hopeful the court will overturn the repeal."

Center for Democracy & Technology:

“Ahead of tomorrow’s oral arguments in net neutrality case Mozilla v. FCC, the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) urges the DC Circuit to vacate the 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

Net neutrality protections are crucial to all Americans’ ability to freely communicate, access information of their choosing, and earn a living,” said Lisa Hayes, CDT General Counsel & Vice President of Strategy. “The FCC’s 2018 order violates the First Amendment, and will harm consumers and businesses. The DC Circuit should vacate the order.”

In January 2018, CDT joined with dozens of net neutrality supporters to sue the FCC and block the repeal of net neutrality rules. Plaintiffs include consumer groups, tech companies, and the attorneys general of 22 states and the District of Columbia. Many of these same groups joined with CDT in earlier litigation surrounding the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order protecting net neutrality. The DC Circuit upheld the validity of the 2015 Open Internet Order in 2017, finding that the order was lawful and justified by the evidence.

Hayes added, “Nothing has changed since the 2015 rulemaking but the leadership of the FCC.  The FCC lacks compelling evidence justifying its 2018 order, and I expect the DC Circuit will find that the FCC’s actions were arbitrary and capricious.”

Oral arguments in the case have been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Friday, February 1, 2019, before the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.”


Nuala O’Connor, President & CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology:

“The FCC’s arbitrary decision to undo net neutrality protections was out of step with the 83% of Americans who support these common sense rules and bad for the countless businesses that rely on the internet for their success. I am delighted that the D.C. Circuit is hearing this important case, and am confident that net neutrality protections will return.”

Evan Greer, Deputy Director of Fight for the Future (pronouns are she/her):

“Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T are going to wish they never picked this fight with the Internet. More than a year after the repeal of net neutrality people are still outraged and paying close attention. Ajit Pai’s FCC blatantly ignored public opinion and acted with reckless disregard for the law in order to give a massive government handout to some of the most power-hungry corporations in the US.Telecom lobbyists were hoping that we would have given up by now. They thought they could outspend and outlast us. They were wrong. Internet activists are continuing to fight in the courts, in Congress, and in the states. Net neutrality is coming back with a vengeance. It’s only a matter of time.”

Statements from organizations and companies regarding Mozilla Corp v. FCC oral arguments