Biden Administration’s Net Neutrality Reinstatement Sparks Legal Battle with Telecom Giants

U.S. telecom groups are challenging the Biden administration’s move to reinstate net neutrality rules, set to take effect on July 22. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its Democratic majority, voted in April to reestablish these rules, originally adopted in 2015 during the Obama administration and later reversed under Trump.

The reinstated rules will prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, throttling, or prioritising content for payment. The FCC will also gain new powers to revoke authorizations of foreign-owned entities operating U.S. broadband networks if they pose a national security threat.

Industry groups representing major ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have filed legal challenges in seven U.S. circuit courts, aiming to create a “circuit split,” which could push the Supreme Court to address the issue. These groups, including USTelecom, NCTA, CTIA, and ACA Connects, requested the FCC to delay the rules while they seek judicial review.

They argue that the FCC is overreaching by reintroducing even stricter regulations than in 2015. FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel stated the agency would avoid rate regulation and not discourage network investment.

Net neutrality has been a priority for President Biden, who signed an executive order in 2021 urging the FCC to advance these regulations. However, Democratic control of the FCC wasn’t secured until October, delaying action on net neutrality.

The Trump administration opposed net neutrality, claiming it hindered innovation and reduced ISP investments. This led to some states creating their own net neutrality laws, which industry groups ceased challenging in May 2022.


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