Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan Files Suit To Stop Illegal Rollback of Net Neutrality

January 16, 2018

CONTACT: TJ Donovan, Attorney General, 802-595-8679

Coalition of 22 Attorneys General Files Petition for Review, Formally Commencing Lawsuit

Today, Attorney General T.J. Donovan joined a coalition of 22 Attorneys General in filing a multistate lawsuit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s illegal rollback of net neutrality. The coalition filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, formally commencing the lawsuit against the FCC and the federal government.

“Vermonters deserve and expect fair treatment when it comes to internet access,” said Attorney General Donovan. “The FCC’s unjustified action threatens the lifeblood of businesses and consumers to transact commerce freely and fairly.”

Click here to read the petition. The lawsuit was filed by the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The repeal of net neutrality would have dire consequences for consumers and businesses in Vermont and across the country that rely on a free and open internet – allowing internet service providers to block certain content, charge consumers more to access certain sites, and throttle or slow the quality of content from content providers that don’t pay more.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the FCC cannot make “arbitrary and capricious” changes to existing policies, such as net neutrality. The FCC’s new rule fails to justify the Commission’s departure from its long-standing policy and practice of defending net neutrality, while misinterpreting and disregarding critical record evidence on industry practices and harm to consumers and businesses. Moreover, the rule wrongly reclassifies broadband internet as a Title I information service, rather than a Title II telecommunications service, based on an erroneous and unreasonable interpretation of the Telecommunications Act. Finally, the rule improperly and unlawfully includes sweeping preemption of state and local laws.

Last modified: January 17, 2018