Coalition of 22 Attorneys General Files Petition for Review, Formally Commencing Lawsuit
BALTIMORE, MD (January 16, 2018) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing a multi-state lawsuit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s illegal rollback of net neutrality. The coalition filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, formally commencing the lawsuit against the FCC and the federal government.
The repeal of net neutrality would have dire consequences for consumers and businesses in Maryland and across the country that rely on a free and open internet – allowing internet service
providers to block certain content, charge consumers more to access certain sites, and throttle or slow the quality of content from content providers that don’t pay more.
“Rolling back net neutrality will negatively affect every consumer and business,” said Attorney General Frosh. “We cannot allow the Federal Communications Commission to turn over control of how we use the Internet in our everyday lives to Internet service providers.” Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the FCC cannot make “arbitrary and capricious” changes to existing policies, such as net neutrality. The FCC’s new rule fails to justify the Commission’s departure from its long-standing policy and practice of defending net neutrality, while misinterpreting and disregarding critical record evidence on industry practices and harm to consumers and businesses. Moreover, the rule wrongly reclassifies broadband internet as a Title I information service, rather than a Title II telecommunications service, based on an erroneous and unreasonable interpretation of the Telecommunications Act. Finally, the rule improperly and unlawfully includes sweeping preemption of state and local laws.
In addition to Maryland, the lawsuit was joined by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.