Repeal will hit Federal Register tomorrow
and take effect 60 days later
The Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules will officially come off the books two months from now, as the FCC is set to take the final step necessary to make the repeal official.
The FCC voted to repeal the rules on December 14, but the repeal takes effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register publication is scheduled to happen on Thursday this week.
That means the repeal will take place on or about April 23. But the lawsuits to overturn the repeal can get started this month or in early March.
Net neutrality supporters filed petitions to overturn the repeal in court last month but will have to refile their petitions in the 10 business days after the Federal Register publication. There is a 10-day window for filing lawsuits, which generally applies to the 10 days after the order is published in the Federal Register. But litigants against the FCC often file within 10 days of an order being published on the FCC website, just in case.
There’s also a deadline in Congress for filing legislation to overturn the repeal. Lawmakers have 60 legislative working days to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution that would reverse the repeal.
Democrats intend to do so, and they need support from just one more Republican to pass a Senate resolution to restore net neutrality rules. But Democrats face a tougher task in the House, where Republicans have a 238-193 majority.
The court case over net neutrality could take more than a year. The current net neutrality rules were upheld by a federal appeals court on June 14, 2016, 14 months after the rules were originally published in the Federal Register.
When the repeal takes effect, home Internet and mobile broadband providers will be allowed to block or throttle Internet traffic, and they can offer priority to websites and online services in exchange for payment. As long as they publicly disclose the blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization, they won’t be violating any FCC rules.