Categories: net neutrality

Mozilla files arguments against the FCC – latest step in fight to save net neutrality

Today, Mozilla is filing our brief in Mozilla v. FCC – alongside other companies, trade groups, states, and organizations – to defend net neutrality rules against the FCC’s rollback that went into effect early this year. For the first time in the history of the public internet, the FCC has disavowed interest and authority to protect users from ISPs, who have both the incentives and means to interfere with how we access online content.

We are proud to be a leader in the fight for net neutrality both through our legal challenge in Mozilla v. FCC and through our deep work in education and advocacy for an open, equal, accessible internet. Users need to know that their access to the internet is not being blocked, throttled, or discriminated against. That means that the FCC needs to accept statutory responsibility in protecting those user rights — a responsibility that every previous FCC has supported until now. That’s why we’re suing to stop them from abdicating their regulatory role in protecting the qualities that have made the internet the most important communications platform in history.

This case is about your rights to access content and services online without your ISP blocking, throttling, or discriminating against your favorite services. Unfortunately, the FCC made this a political issue and followed party-lines rather than protecting your right to an open internet in the US. Our brief highlights how this decision is just completely flawed:

– The FCC order fundamentally mischaracterizes how internet access works. Whether based on semantic contortions or simply an inherent lack of understanding, the FCC asserts that ISPs simply don’t need to deliver websites you request without interference.
– The FCC completely renounces its enforcement ability and tries to delegate that authority to other agencies but only Congress can grant that authority, the FCC can’t decide it’s just not its job to regulate telecommunications services and promote competition.
– The FCC ignored the requirement to engage in a “reasoned decision making” process, ignoring much of the public record as well as their own data showing that consumers lack competitive choices for internet access, which gives ISPs the means to harm access to content and services online.

Additional Mozilla v. FCC briefs will be filed by various parties who are intervening or friends of the court through November. After that process is complete, oral arguments will take place and the court will rule.

Mozilla has been defending users’ access to the internet without interference from gatekeepers for almost a decade, both in the US and globally. Net neutrality is a core characteristic of the internet as we know it, and crucial for the economy and everyday lives. It is imperative that all internet traffic be treated equally, without discrimination against content or type of traffic — that’s how the internet was built and what has made it one of the greatest inventions of all time.

Brief below:

(As filed) Initial NG Petitioners Brief – Mozilla v FCC 20Aug2018