Telecom industry seeks to block the reinstatement of net neutrality rules

  • Telecom companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are challenging the reinstatement of net neutrality rules in court.
  • The FCC has voted to restore the 2015 rules, which prevent ISPs from blocking or slowing down internet traffic and from prioritising certain content for payment.
  • President Biden has prioritised restoring net neutrality, as demonstrated by a 2021 executive order encouraging the FCC to reinstate the rules.

Net neutrality is essential to ensure a level playing field on the Internet. It prevents ISPs from having too much control and prevents discriminatory practices that could harm consumers and small businesses. Allowing ISPs to block or slow down traffic to specific websites, or to engage in paid prioritisation, can lead to unfair advantages for certain entities and limit the freedom and accessibility of the Internet. It may also stifle innovation and competition. The FCC’s new authority to oversee and address issues related to telecommunications companies is also important for maintaining a healthy and safe digital environment.

– Summer Ren, BTW Report

The telecom industry is mounting a concerted effort to halt the Biden administration’s reinstatement of net neutrality regulations, which are slated to take effect on July 22. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in April along party lines to restore the open internet rules that were implemented in 2015 but rolled back during the Trump administration.

Overview of net neutrality rules

These net neutrality rules are designed to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from engaging in practices like blocking or slowing down traffic to specific websites or engaging in paid prioritisation of content. Additionally, the rules grant the FCC new authority to oversee internet service outages and address concerns related to Chinese telecom companies.

The telecom industry’s legal challenges

Major telecom industry groups, including AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, are leading the opposition. They have filed legal challenges against the order in seven different U.S. circuit courts. These companies have also urged the FCC to delay the implementation of the rules to allow judicial review or to secure a court order temporarily blocking the regulations.

Reinstating net neutrality is a key priority for President Joe Biden. This objective was underscored in an executive order he signed in July 2021, which urged the FCC to bring back the 2015 rules initially established during the Obama administration.

Industry concerns over regulatory authority

Industry groups have criticised the FCC’s move, arguing that the new rules grant the regulatory body excessive authority over how Americans access the internet. They contend that such oversight could stifle innovation and investment in network infrastructure.

The debate over net neutrality is reflective of broader political differences. Generally, Democrats support net neutrality to ensure a fair and open internet, while Republican viewpoints suggest that such regulations are unnecessary and may hinder technological and commercial innovation.

Even after the federal rollback of net neutrality regulations in 2017, several states have enacted their own laws or regulations to maintain net neutrality principles. Interestingly, industry groups have often abstained from challenging these state-level requirements legally.


Summer Ren

Summer Ren is an intern reporter at BTW Media, covering tech trends. She graduated from Cardiff University and had experience in the financial industry as well as video production skills. Send tips to

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