New appeal filed to reinstate net neutrality

Published on December 19, 2019

Mozilla and several other companies filed a petition Friday to appeal the 2018 decision to repeal net neutrality.

The companies argue that equal access to all sites on the internet is more important than the judges’ reasons for repealing it.

The petition states that Judge Patricia Millett, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, didn’t believe the decision was fully understood.

She did not agree with their decision to no longer regulate internet service providers and did not agree with the primary or secondary reasoning.

In the document she is quoted saying, “[their secondary reasons] to singlehandedly drive the Commission’s classification decision is to confuse the leash for the dog.”

The Federal Communications Commission or FCC cited Domain Name System or DNS and caching as part of their reasoning.

Other companies that filed include etsy and Vimeo.

Without net neutrality

Mozilla and other companies want to prevent a repeat of what happened to Netflix in 2013 and 2014.

The streaming service paid Comcast in 2014 after speeds on the site had gotten so slow many users cancelled their Netflix subscriptions.

They had to make similar deals with other providers subsequently to ensure that their content was stable there as well.

Net neutrality made this illegal until it’s repeal in 2014.

Consenters say that net neutrality is the imposition of government into a place where the free market works just as well if not better for both the consumer and the provider.

What is net neutrality

Net neutrality is the classification of access to all sites on the internet as defined by the FCC. Changes depend on whether this access is regulated as telecommunications service by the FCC.

Under net neutrality, access to the internet was classified under Title II of the Telecommunication Act.

When classified as a telecommunications service, Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon cannot legally make certain sites load faster than others.

In court

Net neutrality was first instituted in February of 2015 after being an issue that Barack Obama was outspoken about.

In a video by the White House in 2014, Obama laid out why he thought net neutrality was important and exactly what he was asking of the FCC.

“In plain english, I’m asking them to recognize that for most americans the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life,” Obama said.

This 2015 classification was first repealed in June of 2018.

The F.C.C. was led by Ajit Pai in 2018 and he was a champion for the decision to repeal the regulations.

He said in an article at the time that he believed the policy to be outdated and that provisions had been made to ensure transparency by all internet providers.

“Rules designed for the Ma Bell monopoly during the era of rotary phones were a poor fit for the greatest innovation of our time, the internet,” said Pai.

Pai said that the transparency aspect would be a less regulated way to protect all parties.

“In the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the FCC strengthened its transparency rule so that internet service providers must make public more information about their network management practices,” he said in the article.

In September of this year, a federal appeals court decided to uphold the 2018 decision.

This appeals court did strike down a part of the original ruling.

They ruled that the F.C.C. should not be allowed to bar states from creating net neutrality laws of their own.

Five states have legislation that on a state-level ensures net neutrality including California, Washington, Oregon, Vermont and New Jersey.

Just this year, 29 more states have introduced new legislation to create net neutrality on a state level.

Sarah Smith is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Tampa, Florida, she primarily covers new tech and events.

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