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Net Neutrality Litigation Begins


The concept of net neutrality covers many areas of the law, from business litigation and transactions, to consumer fraud and protection. In a nutshell, the concept is used described the principle that all internet service providers should have equal access to content and applications regardless of the source and without any favoritism or blocking of particular websites, products, etc.

Net neutrality has been the subject of significant media coverage of late, after announcements of  intentions to repeal it. As a result, a wave of litigation against the repeal has already been filed by 21 states (and the District of Columbia), Mozilla, Free Press, and New America’s Open Technology Institute (thus far).

Net Neutrality Rules & Effects on Consumers & Businesses: Litigation Filed

States have been barred from enacting their own net neutrality rules in the face of the repeal because it would contradict the federal authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Thus, many have taken to filing litigation instead, alleging that the repeal of net neutrality rules would hurt both consumers and businesses, and that the FCC made arbitrary and capricious changes to existing policies holding it in place, departing from its long-standing policy of defending the principle.

Net neutrality has long been upheld as providing a level playing field for both content provider companies and consumers; allowing them to select any content from the web. In a nutshell, without net neutrality, internet service providers could become “gatekeepers” of what content to show consumers, leaving many businesses without the ability to connect with consumers at all (and thus leaving consumers without the ability to choose). However, some have remarked that these lawsuits could turn out to be uphill battles, as the courts have traditionally shown high levels of deference to agencies like the FCC in setting up rules governing the internet (as long as adequate explanations have been provided for said rules).

Net Neutrality Legislation

At the same time, Congress is gearing up to hold a vote against the repeal under the Congressional Review Act, although–like litigation–this too is predicted to face some challenges if/when it reaches the House and President Donald Trump’s desk.

In addition, some states have created ways of trying to get around federal preemption by carefully crafting their own legislation making it difficult to impossible for the states to contract with companies that do not actively choose to follow net neutrality principles, or simply barring companies from interfering with customers’ internet service, for example.

Florida Consumer Protection & Business Litigation Lawyers

Suncoast Civil Law is proud to have experienced, dedication business law and consumer protection attorneys to serve our Florida clients. We’ve been advising consumers throughout Southwest Florida for years concerning their legal rights. If you have a legal question, please do not hesitate to contact us today to find out more.