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Groups Fire First Legal Shots At Net Rule Rollback

Opponents of the FCC’s rollback of network neutrality regulations filed a lawsuit against the move in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, which they see as most sympathetic to their argument.

The D.C. Circuit is the court that upheld the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet order, the measure reversed by current FCC chair Ajit Pai in a Dec. 14 party-line vote.

Public Knowledge, the Open Technology Institute and 22 state attorneys general, led by New York’s Eric Schniederman, filed the petitions on Jan. 16 even though they concede the filing is premature because the decision has yet to be published in the Federal Register. If challenges to the rules are filed in more than one appeals court, as expected, there is a lottery to choose which circuit gets the case.

Last time around, when internet service providers challenged the rules, there was some ambiguity about the filing date and what appeared to be early filings were included in the lottery. The groups want to make sure they have a ping pong ball in the cage if there is a reprise of “premature” filings.

Federal Register publication could happen any time now — it had not as of press time — definitively triggering the official race to court.