Pasadena-Based Coalition Joins Lawsuit to Restore Net Neutrality

Published : Thursday, August 23, 2018 | 5:35 AM

The Pasadena-based National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), a media watchdog serving the Latino community, on Monday filed a joint brief with petitioners seeking to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to revoke 2015 net neutrality consumer protections.

The Coalition joins attorneys-general from 22 states and the District of Columbia, and lawyers from a number of non-government petitioners that filed a lawsuit with a federal appeals court in Washington D.C. opposing the FCC’s decision last year and seeking to restore net neutrality.

The petitioners said the FCC decision “will cause (inevitable harms) to consumers, public safety, and existing regulatory schemes” and that the commission “entirely ignored many of these issues” when it overturned net neutrality.

The NHMC said the FCC ignored tens of thousands of internet consumer complaints when it decided to revoke net neutrality protections.

“NHMC uncovered critical evidence during the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality last year which documented consumer harms, further cementing the need to retain the 2015 open Internet rules,” Francella Ochillo, NHMC director for government and legal affairs, said. “Despite several requests from NHMC, the FCC refused to consider relevant information uncovered through these FOIA requests. That was a fatal error in the FCC’s administrative process, a vulnerability that will be exposed through litigation. The FCC chose to exclude evidence in its own possession from this proceeding, and for this reason alone the court should reverse the FCC’s decision to repeal Net Neutrality protections.”

In a statement, the NHMC said they sent a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the FCC in May 2017, and ultimately uncovered over 70,000 pages of documents, including over 47,000 open internet consumer complaints excluded from the commission’s analysis before it repealed the net neutrality rules.

The NHMC added that while the FCC continued to produce documents as requested, the coalition commissioned an independent expert report in November focusing on the Net Neutrality consumer complaints.

The report, authored by Reza Rajabiun, a competition policy and telecommunications strategy expert, found that both consumers and their service providers appear to consider broadband access as a basic stand-alone telecommunications service.

Rajabiun’s full report can be accessed through http://bit.ly/2z4lFQe, the NHMC said.

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