In a message to political supporters, Attorney General Lori Swanson said Tuesday that she would file a lawsuit with other state attorneys general asking the court to overturn a federal decision that repeals a rule designed to keep access to the internet free and open.
The move would challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s recent overturning of “net neutrality,” a 2015 regulation mandating that internet companies treat all traffic equally and not create slow or fast lanes for companies based on extra fees.
“Without net neutrality, broadband companies are free to block content they don’t want you to see, to slow it down and make it harder to access, or to prioritize content based on who pays them money,” Swanson wrote to supporters in an e-mail. “Mega corporations can dominate the content people see online by paying money to obtain faster speeds. This will make it more difficult and more expensive for consumers to access the content they want.”
Over the summer, the FCC’s proposal drew a record 20 million-plus public comments. The commission voted 3-2 this month to undo the Obama-era rule, with Chairman Ajit Pai saying the move would benefit consumers and give broadband providers more incentive to build networks.
The FCC’s ruling was always expected to draw legal challenges, and attorneys general of New York, Oregon, Washington, Illinois and Iowa have already expressed an intent to sue. Litigants have to wait 10 days until after the decision is posted in the federal register, which has yet to happen.
Swanson, a DFLer, is considered a likely contender for next year’s gubernatorial race.
She concluded her e-mail with praise for Sen. Al Franken, a fellow DFLer who is leaving office next week and has made the preservation of net neutrality one of his biggest causes.