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Court Restores FTC authority in AT&T case: Consumers Union Statement

Monday, February 26, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. —A federal appeals court on Monday ruled the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has authority over internet service providers, allowing the agency to move forward with its lawsuit against AT&T for advertising “unlimited” data plans to consumers but then throttling their data use if they reached a certain limit. AT&T argued that the FTC had no jurisdiction to sue because AT&T was a common carrier. Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, applauded the decision, but noted it was not a substitute for restoring the net neutrality rules repealed by the FCC earlier this year.

Jessica Rich, Vice President of advocacy for Consumer Reports and former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “This is the right result for the FTC and consumers, allowing the FTC to continue to protect consumers in what would otherwise be a vast regulatory gap. However, this decision only restores the limited jurisdiction the FTC previously had over internet service providers. Despite what the telecom industry says, this ruling is no substitute for the critical net neutrality protections that the FCC has rolled back under Chairman Pai, which is why we’re urging Congress to restore the rules to protect the open internet.”