Appeals court won’t rehear a challenge to net neutrality rules


A U.S. appeals court has denied a request by broadband trade groups to rehear its decision last June to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial 2015 net neutrality rules.

The court’s decision on Monday is a hollow victory for net neutrality supporters. Just last Wednesday, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to repeal the rules at the agency, without a court ordering him to do so.

The trade groups needed a majority of the judges on the District of Columbia Circuit to support a rehearing of last year’s decision. What they got was a divided court: Three of the nine judges recused themselves, and two judges voted to deny the petition for rehearing, leaving a minority in support.

A rehearing “would be particularly unwarranted at this point in light of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the FCC’s Order,” Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote in his denial of a rehearing. “The agency will soon consider adopting a [new order] that would replace the existing rule with a markedly different one.”

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