Appeals Court Won’t Hold Up Enforcement Of Net Neutrality Rules

A number of lawsuits filed by telecom and cable companies and their associated trade groups in recent weeks had hoped that the court would block the FCC from enforcing the new net neutrality rules that are slated to kick in tomorrow, June 12. But with the clock ticking to reach that deadline, a federal appeals court has denied this request, meaning that the Open Internet Order will go into effect (at least until lawmakers do their best to de-fund it).

In a single consolidated response [PDF] to a dozen different lawsuits, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today denied plaintiffs’ requests for a stay that would have held up enforcement of the Open Internet Order pending the court’s review.

“This is a huge victory for Internet consumers and innovators,” said FCC Chair Tom Wheeler in a statement. “Starting Friday, there will be a referee on the field to keep the Internet fast, fair and open. Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past. The rules also give broadband providers the certainty and economic incentive to build fast and competitive broadband networks.”

Plaintiffs who have sought a stay of the neutrality rules include AT&T, CenturyLink, the American Cable Association, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, CTIA – The Wireless Association, and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, among others.

With so many plaintiffs, the court’s order “strongly urges” the affected parties to file a joint proposal rather than separate filings.

“[T]he court looks with extreme disfavor on repetitious submissions and will, where appropriate, require a joint brief of aligned parties with total words not to exceed the standard allotment for a single brief,” explains the order. “Whether the parties are aligned or have disparate interests, they must provide detailed justifications for any request to file separate briefs or to exceed in the aggregate the standard word allotment.”

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