FILE PHOTO – Supporter of Net Neutrality Lance Brown Eyes protests the FCC’s recent decision to repeal the program in Los Angeles, California, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/ Kyle Grillot

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court said late on Thursday it will not reconsider an October ruling that largely upheld the repeal of landmark net neutrality rules, rejecting requests by more than a dozen U.S. states and tech groups.

The Federal Communications Commission in December 2017 reversed Obama-era rules prohibiting internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes, a blow to large tech companies and consumer groups that had championed net neutrality.

In orders issued Thursday, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia declined without comment to rehear the decision as did the three-judge panel that issued the ruling in October.

The decision is a win for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai who proposed and has championed the repeal. A spokesman for Pai did not immediately comment.

In petitions filed in December, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, internet trade group INCOMPAS and various advocacy groups had asked for the rehearing and were joined by states that had also challenged the decision. Members of the trade groups include Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc and Google parent Alphabet Inc

The appeals court, in its October decision, also ruled the FCC overstepped its legal authority when it declared that states cannot pass their own net neutrality laws.

It also ordered the agency to review some aspects of its 2017 repeal of the rules, including public safety implications and how its decision will impact a government subsidy program for low-income users.

The 2017 FCC 3-2 vote handed internet providers sweeping powers to recast how Americans use the internet, as long as they disclose changes. The new rules took effect in June 2018 but ISPs have yet to change how users access the internet.

In April, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to reinstate net neutrality protections, but the measure was not considered by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Daniel Wallis


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