Mozilla filed a lawsuit in August that the FCC illegally violated the 2015 neutrality rules, including "fundamental mischaracteriz [ing]" how internet access works. " The FCC has archived its official response, and as you may expect, it has doubled down on these basic mischaracterizations.
The Mozilla costume, which you can read here or built into the bottom of this post, was kind of a cluster of claims that put on the FCC order for technical, legal and procedural reasons. They are not new, revealing arguments – they are what network neutralists have said for years.
There are at least a dozen separate claims, but most fall under two general categories.
- The FCC mistakenly classifies broadband as an "information service" instead of a "telecommunication service." There is a long history behind this as I documented in the Commission's impossible series. The logic on which this provision is based has been rejected by virtually all technical authorities and is really just wrong. This draws the carpet out of many reasons for rejecting the previous rules and introducing new ones.
By not assessing consumer complaints or performing adequate studies of industry status, federal protection and impact of the rules, the FCC's Order is "arbitrary and whimsical" and therefore can not be deemed to have been legally passed.
FCC's response to these statements is also not surprising. The majority of major regulatory documents like Restoring Internet Freedom are not composed of the actual rules, but in the grounds of these rules. Therefore, the FCC took preventative measures in its proposal identifying potential objections (like Mozilla's) and rejecting them in different ways.
That their counter-arguments on the broadband classification are nothing new, in themselves, is a little surprising. These same arguments were rejected by a panel of judges in the DC circuit back in 201
As for the arbitrary and random assertion, the FCC only repeats that all its decisions were reasonable as justified at that time. Mozilla's arguments have not been given a serious assessment; For example, when Mozilla pointed out that thousands of pages of comments had been predominantly assumed by the FCC to be irrelevant without looking at them, the FCC replies that it "reasonably decided not to include largely unconfirmed consumer complaints in the mail."
These statements are not the end of the line; There will be more legal wrangling, amicus panties, public statements, changed archives, and so on before this matter is settled. However, if you want a good summary of the hard legal arguments against the FCC and a dissuasive termination thereof, these two documents will serve for weekend reading.
Mozilla v FCC Archive of TechCrunch at Scribd
FCC's counter arguments:
Mozilla v FCC Counterfiling by TechCrunch on Scribd