AT&T plans to defend the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision to dismantle the net neutrality rules, the company said Wednesday in court papers.
"AT&T actively participated in the agency proceedings below ... because it wishes to avoid unnecessary and burdensome regulation of the broadband Internet access services that it offers," the company said in papers filed with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. "Its interests will therefore be substantially affected by any review of the Order by this Court."
In December, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules that prohibited broadband carriers from blocking or throttling online traffic and from charging companies higher fees for prioritized delivery. The agency also revoked a prior decision to classify broadband as a utility service -- a move that allowed the FCC to impose common carrier rules on providers. Critics of the FCC's decision argue that net neutrality rules are necessary to prevent carriers from discriminating against competitors, and from harming small companies that can't afford high fees for fast-lane service.
Last month, a coalition of attorney general, along with consumer groups and Mozilla, sued the FCC over the repeal.
The FCC said in court papers filed late last week that the appeal is premature, because the rules won't take effect until after they have been published in the Federal Register.
Mozilla's chief legal officer, Denelle Dixon, said this week the company will re-file its lawsuit after the rules are published. "We will always fight to protect the open internet and will continue to challenge the FCC’s decision to destroy net neutrality in the courts, in Congress, and with our allies and internet users," Dixon wrote in a blog post. "The FCC’s decision to destroy net neutrality rules is the result of broken processes, broken politics, and broken policies."