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Internet Association will amicus brief supporting FCC in open Internet court challenge

The Internet Association representing 35 of the nation’s largest Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix notified the D.C. Court of appeals Friday that it will file an amicus brief in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s open Internet order.

Oral arguments in the case USTelecom et al. v. FCC are scheduled for December 4. Briefs for intervenors in support of the FCC are due Sept. 21.

Some of the Internet companies represented by The Internet Association actively campaigned for the FCC’s open Internet order, which went into effect June 12. Etsy, for example, argued that its business would never have gotten off the ground if it weren’t for the open Internet.

Netflix was very outspoken about Internet interconnection issues, signing an interconnection deal with Comcast and then roundly condemning the fact that it had to.

“The Internet industry believes strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable net neutrality rules that apply to both mobile and fixed broadband are necessary to protect the user experience online,” said Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association. “For the Internet to flourish, it is essential that rules be established that ban paid prioritization, blocking, and other forms of discrimination regardless of how a user decides to connect to the Internet,” Beckerman concluded.

Petitioners in case, the major cable and telecom Internet service providers, are focusing their challenge on the part of the FCC order that redefines ISPs as common carriers under a statute governing the decades-old telephone system. Opening briefs were filed July 30; intervenors filed briefs Aug. 6.

As a side note, Beckerman is a former long-time aid for House commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who opposes the FCC’s reclassification of ISPs as common carriers.