After weeks of deliberation, the FCC published the final form of its repeal of net neutrality rules yesterday. The change would revert broadband access to a Title I classification under the Communication Act, scaling back some of the protections afforded by its Title II classification previously.
Legal challenges to the decision have surfaced since, with a number of Attorney Generals and Congressmen from various U.S. states voicing their opposition to the bill, and some plans to file suit against the repeal. Joining that fight now are some of the biggest names in the tech world, including Facebook, Amazon, and Google.
The Internet Association, a lobbying organisation that represents the interests of these companies - and others - today announced they will be joining existing lawsuits against the repeal, though they did not specify which lawsuit(s) precisely. The CEO of the organisation, Michael Beckerman, had the following to say about the repeal, spearheaded by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:
"The final version of Chairman Pai’s rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers. This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet."
The decision has also been met with a fair amount of criticism from users over concerns that the repeal may allow ISPs to abuse their position and deteriorate internet access to smaller sites that may not be able to pay for 'fast lanes'.
Back in 2014 when a similar debate occupied the FCC on whether to pass rules that would loosen net neutrality restrictions on ISPs, a coalition of over 100 tech companies chimed in to show support for the principle of a free and open internet. While they have been a little less vocal since then, this development does show they are still committed to the idea. It remains to be seen if their inclusion in these efforts will yield any significant results.