Telecom industry groups to block restart of Net Neutrality rules in US

Telecom industry groups are seeking to block the reinstatement of net neutrality rules, which are set to take effect on July 22 in the United States.
broadband internet connection usersThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the telecom regulator in the United States, voted in April to reestablish regulatory oversight of broadband internet and reinstate the open internet rules initially adopted in 2015, which were rescinded during former President Donald Trump’s tenure. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are facing another election in November 2024.

These reinstated rules prohibit internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or slowing down traffic to certain websites and from engaging in paid prioritization of lawful content. Additionally, the rules equip the FCC with new tools to address issues related to Chinese telecom companies and to monitor internet service outages more effectively, Reuters news report said.

Earlier, telecom industry groups said the reinstatement of net neutrality rules will negatively impact their investment in broadband infrastructure. The number of broadband subscribers in the U.S. stood at 114.7 million at the end of 2023, according to Statista. Americas fixed broadband revenue is estimated to be $152.5 billion in 2023, according to a report from GlobalData.

Industry groups representing major telecom service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have filed legal challenges to the order in seven U.S. circuit courts over recent days. The groups, which include USTelecom, NCTA, CTIA, and ACA Connects, have requested that the FCC delay the implementation of the order to allow for judicial review or, if necessary, a court-issued temporary block on the new rules.

Reinstating net neutrality has been a key priority for President Joe Biden, who signed an executive order in July 2021 urging the FCC to bring back the 2015 rules established under Democratic President Barack Obama. The industry groups contend that the FCC “has once again claimed all-encompassing authority to regulate how Americans access the internet — this time, adopting even more invasive rules than it did in 2015.”

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel has assured that the commission will not engage in rate regulation or undermine incentives for network investment. The Democratic majority in the FCC, achieved in October, ended nearly three years of stymied efforts to reinstate net neutrality.

Under Trump’s administration, the FCC had argued that net neutrality rules were unnecessary, hindered innovation, and led to a decrease in network investment by ISPs, a claim disputed by Democrats. Despite the 2017 decision to rescind the federal requirement, a dozen states have since implemented their own net neutrality laws or regulations. Industry groups abandoned legal challenges to these state requirements in May 2022. News Desk