'Be Ready to Fight Like Hell,' Say Internet Defenders as Court Upholds FCC Repeal of Net Neutrality

Digital rights advocates said the public must “be ready to fight like hell” to save the open internet from telecom attacks after a federal appeals court on Tuesday largely upheld the FCC’s 2017 repeal of net neutrality.

“Telecom monopolies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are hellbent on destroying net neutrality,” Evan Greer, deputy director of the advocacy group Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “Big Cable’s lobbyists will use this as an excuse to swarm Washington, D.C. and attempt to ram through bad legislation that would permanently gut open internet protections.”

“We can’t let that happen,” said Greer. “The internet must come together once more to beat back corruption and defend our online freedom.”

Craig Aaron, president and CEO of advocacy group Free Press, tweeted that “the Trump FCC won today” but highlighted “silver linings” in the court’s decision.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its 186-page ruling (pdf) Tuesday that the FCC’s attempt to bar states from passing stronger net neutrality rules was illegal, a significant victory for California, Washington, and other states that passed strong net neutrality protections in the wake of the FCC’s repeal.

“The court rejected the FCC’s claims that it can pre-empt state net neutrality laws out of hand,” said Aaron. “So we can take this fight to the states to protect internet users.”

According to Free Press, nine states implemented rules to preserve net neutrality following the FCC’s repeal.