Silicon Valley group aims to sue FCC

Action could be a multi-pronged legal attack to reinstate net neutrality

WASHINGTON — The major trade group representing Facebook, Google, Netflix and dozens of other tech companies said Friday that it plans to sue the Federal Communications Commission over its recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry — drawing fresh battle lines in a years-long fight over the future of the internet.

The internet Association said in a statement it would be joining what likely will be a multi-pronged legal attack against the FCC’s rewritten rules, which the agency released Thursday night.

Approved last month under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the new rules make it legal for internet providers such as AT&T and Verizon to speed up or slow down websites at will, as well as to block them outright.

“The final version of Chairman Pai’s rule, as expected, dismantles popular net-neutrality protections for consumers,” the internet Association said. “This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet. I.A. intends to act as an intervenor in judicial action against this order and, along with our member companies, will continue our push to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality protections through a legislative solution.”

The FCC declined to comment.

Friday’s announcement foreshadows a barrage of lawsuits on net neutrality that soon could drop. But first, the FCC rules must be officially published in the Federal Register before any appeals can take place.

That process could take a number of weeks, analysts said.

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