Tuesday, June 14, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, today applauded the decision by the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules. Telecommunications companies had filed a legal challenge to the FCC’s authority to implement the rules.
George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “This is a big win for consumers. The court upheld what net neutrality advocates have said since the beginning: the FCC has the clear authority to ensure that the Internet remains free and open for consumers. While we are thrilled about today’s victory, we know that opponents will keep up the fight in Congress and the courts, and we’ll keep fighting alongside the millions of consumers who have spoken out for net neutrality.”
Slover said the FCC’s Open Internet rules are essential for consumers to be able to access the websites and apps they choose without their Internet service provider playing gatekeeper, charging some sites for special treatment, while other sites are saddled with slower speeds and second-class status. The FCC approved the rules in 2015 after nearly 4 million consumers wrote the Commission, overwhelmingly in favor of an open Internet.
Last year, Consumers Union submitted an amicus brief in favor of the FCC rules to the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit. The brief cited Consumer Reports’ national surveys that demonstrated strong support for net neutrality rules. A June 2014 CR survey found that 58% of consumers agreed that “the government should not allow Internet service providers to charge companies to deliver their content with greater priority than other companies”; only 16% thought it was a good idea.
In the amicus brief, Consumers Union wrote, “An open Internet promotes online innovation, competition, free expression, and infrastructure deployment, all of which greatly benefit consumers in the form of promoting more choice online, better affordability, greater Internet access speeds, and greater ability and freedom to communicate and receive information. A hallmark of the Internet has been that consumers could access all online services without interference from their Internet providers. These rules are an appropriate and well-suited means, clearly within the FCC’s authority, for ensuring the Internet remains open for everyone.”
Consumers Union is the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.