PROVIDENCE — Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined a coalition of 22 Attorneys General Tuesday in filing a multi-state lawsuit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s illegal rollback of Net Neutrality.
The repeal of net neutrality would have dire consequences for consumers and businesses in Rhode Island and across the country 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.
According to Kilmartin, the Administrative Procedure Act, prohibits the FCC from making “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, Kilmartin said.
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.
“A free and open Internet ensures equal access to information, prevents discriminatory pricing by a few large corporations, protects freedom of speech, and promotes innovation in our digital economy. The decision by the FCC to rollback Net Neutrality is anti-consumer and anti-innovation and will have a chilling effect on freedoms of speech and expression by limiting access to preferred content controlled by large corporations,” said Kilmartin.
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.
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