- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Files Lawsuit to Stop Illegal Rollback of Net Neutrality Protections
Boston — Continuing their fight to protect equal and open access to the internet, Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing a multistate lawsuit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) illegal rollback of net neutrality protections.
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.
“With so much of our lives online, the last thing we need is a slower, more expensive, and more restricted internet,” AG Healey said. “We are challenging the FCC’s order not only because it’s bad for consumers, students and small businesses here in Massachusetts – but because it’s illegal. We are moving forward with our lawsuit against the FCC to protect the internet as we know it.”
The FCC released its final order rolling back net neutrality protections on Jan. 4 after voting 3-2 in favor of the order on party lines in December. After that vote, AG Healey announced she would join a multistate lawsuit against the FCC over its vote to rollback net neutrality protections.
The repeal of net neutrality would have dire consequences for consumers and businesses in Massachusetts and across the nation 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. The order also seeks to prevent states from taking action on their own to protect and secure equal and open access to the internet for their citizens.
In the petition filed today, the attorneys general seek a determination by the court that the FCC’s order to end net neutrality is “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” in violation of various federal laws and regulations.
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.
The lawsuit was filed by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.