INCOMPAS, the Internet and competitive networks association, whose members include leading streaming and Internet edge companies in the US, as well as new competitive fibre network builders, filed a Petition in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C. Circuit) challenging the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order.
The Petition notes that in passing its recent Order, the FCC abandoned its long-held, bipartisan jurisdiction to ensure an open internet. The net neutrality principles of no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritisation and strong interconnection policies that were enshrined in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order were built upon years of FCC and judicial precedent and were twice upheld by the D.C. Circuit.
During the FCC’s rulemaking in 2017, INCOMPAS filed detailed and substantive arguments as to the risks and harms created by Chairman Pai’s efforts to end net neutrality. This included harms to consumers, streaming and cloud services, and businesses large and small.
The INCOMPAS filings demonstrated how large ISPs have the incentive and ability to block and throttle content, prioritise their own content over that of their competitors, engage in unreasonable interconnection practices, and generally engage in anti-consumer behaviour that harms an open Internet. The net neutrality protections of the 2015 Order prevented such behaviour and ensured a free and open Internet for everyone.
In addition, during the proceeding, INCOMPAS filed a motion to incorporate into the docket findings from previous merger investigations by the Department of Justice and the FCC that demonstrated ISPs’ incentive and ability to engage in behaviours that threaten an open internet. INCOMPAS believes its motion was improperly denied in the Order and has questioned what the FCC wanted to hide from courts destined to review the Order.