Feb 1, 2019

Net neutrality heads back to court

Mike Adkins at a net neutrality protest in February, 2018. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The net neutrality litigation cycle continues Friday as a three-judge panel considers a challenge to the Federal Commission Commission repeal of its own previous regulations for internet providers.

Why it matters: From AT&T's purchase of Time Warner to Comcast's Netflix competitor, internet service providers are increasingly getting into the content game, raising questions about whether they will try to use their pipes to boost their content businesses.

The bottom line: Net neutrality backers, which includes public interest groups and tech companies, want to see the repeal struck down — restoring regulations from 2015. The FCC wants things to stay as they are.

  • The case is being heard by three DC Circuit Court of Appeals judges: Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Stephen Williams.

The panel of judges is facing multiple questions:

  • Did the FCC rightfully change broadband's status under the law? In 2015, the agency treated it more like a utility, which gave it more authority to ban practices like blocking, throttling or creating fast lanes for content. The FCC will say the Supreme Court affirmed its authority to treat internet service providers the way it did and that this lower court shouldn't contradict its ruling.
  • Was the process the FCC used to repeal the rules appropriate? Regulators aren't allowed to make rules that are "arbitrary and capricious" and the FCC's opponents say that's exactly what happened. The FCC will say it met its obligations.

What they're saying: Both sides are — no surprise — projecting optimism.

  • "We are confident that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order will be upheld in court," said FCC chief of staff Matthew Berry in a statement.
  • “Net neutrality is an essential consumer protection that everyone online deserves, and this case is the fight to save it," said Danelle Dixon, the chief operating officer of Mozilla, the named plaintiff battling the FCC in court.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 691,867 — Total deaths: 32,988 — Total recoveries: 146,613.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 125,433 — Total deaths: 2,201 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record, bringing its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked people"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that President Donald Trump's unexpected Saturday announcement of a possible "short-term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to curb the spread of the coronavirus "really panicked people."

Why it matters: Though Trump ruled out the mandatory quarantine later that day, Cuomo said people still called "all night long" asking about the comments and many likely fled the New York area — possibly spreading the virus further.

Go deeperArrow50 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Fauci suggests death toll could top 100,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN Sunday that models suggest COVID-19 will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000, though he stressed that the projections are "such a moving target."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, reported influxes of cases on Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health