Attorneys general from 22 U.S. states and the District of Columbia demanded the return of net neutrality protections for the sake of consumers, arguing that the current lack of rules mandating the existence of an open Internet will hurt the vast majority of Americans and cause public safety issues. In a Monday filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the officials led by New York AG Barbara D. Underwood described the very concept of net neutrality as being of "critical" importance to the U.S. democracy.
The same coalition that already pushed back against the polarizing repeal of Title II protections made official by the FCC earlier this year argued that the current state of affairs will inevitably lead to a "devastating" scenario that will put millions of American consumers at risk of "abusive practices" aimed at maximizing profits at the expense of censoring content and putting small companies out of business. Proponents of net neutrality repeatedly argued that the lack of formal protections will eventually lead to the broadband and wireless industry demanding extra fees for swift access to select websites or content packages in a manner akin to the business model used by cable TV. Whether ISPs will demand those fees to be settled by consumers, websites, or both is ultimately irrelevant as the very existence of fast lanes and content prioritization will undermine people's ability to freely access information, according to many activists.
The AG coalition demanding a judicial review of the FCC's controversial repeal represents jurisdictions with over half of the U.S. population, or 165 million people. Besides arguing against the federal repeal, the movement also claims the FCC overstepped its authority by equipping its net neutrality repeal with a clause that prohibits similar state laws from being enacted. With the topic of combating government overreach being a historically crucial component of the GOP's platform, the current Republican-led FCC still hasn't delivered a clear argument on how dictating the manner in which state-level lawmakers can and cannot attempt to preserve the open Internet isn't an aggressive and highly centralized intervention affecting the most important communications technology of the 21st century.