The lawsuit argues that the FCC’s decision in December to eliminate the rules that prohibited internet providers from slowing down or blocking content, or charging for access to certain sites, was “arbitrary,” “capricious” and “an abuse of discretion.”
“An open internet – and the free exchange of ideas it allows – is critical to our democratic process,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who led the coalition that filed the multi-state coalition. “The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers – allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online. This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet.”
Schneiderman said in a statement that the FCC had failed to justify its reasons for abandoning net-neutrality, and for ignoring evidence of consumer harm. He also argues that the commission misinterpreted the Telecommunications Act.
California — a state in the vanguard of the Trump resistance movement — joined in the suit, with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra issuing a statement saying that internet access should be treated like a utility.
“A free and open internet drives innovation, economic growth, and consumer choice. As home to countless start-ups and technology giants alike, California knows this better than anywhere else,” Beccerra said. “We will do everything we can to defend our vibrant Internet economy and consumer choice from the FCC’s attempt to curtail net neutrality.”
The Federal Communications Commission argued that the Obama-era rules, imposed in 2015, had curbed industry investment. Legal experts say the commission is likely to defend its decision, arguing that the FCC frequently changes its mind about how to regulate industries.
Tuesday’s lawsuit comes a day after Democratic lawmakers in the Senate say they’re getting closer to gathering the votes needed to overturn the rule change, known as the Restoring Internet Freedom Act.