Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday he will file a lawsuit against the FCC's decision to undo net neutrality rules implemented under the Obama administration. The vote was 3-2, with Republicans on the FCC board carrying the majority.
"Yesterday I sent a letter to the FCC asking them to delay their vote gutting net neutrality. Unfortunately, they did not, Ferguson wrote in a statement. "Today, I am announcing my intention to file a legal challenge to the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality, along with attorneys general across the country."
The FCC's new rules could usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet. The agency got rid of rules that barred companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon from playing favorites with internet apps and sites.
The broadband industry promises that the internet experience isn't going to change. But protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that cable and phone companies will be able to control what they see and do online.
"Allowing internet service providers to discriminate based on content undermines a free and open internet. Today’s action will seriously harm consumers, innovation and small businesses," Ferguson said in his statement.
Some Democrats hope to ride that wave of public opinion into the 2018 elections.
Ferguson has filed at least 18 previous lawsuits against the Trump administration, including one against the President's first travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries.
Reaction from Washington's congressional delegation to the FCC decision was mixed along party lines.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.
"The heavy-handed rules from the Obama administration stifled investment in rural communities, like those in Eastern Washington, and created uncertainty for ISPs in meeting the requirements for those rules. What I want is for everyone to come to the table to find a bipartisan, legislative solution that will protect consumers while not harming investment, and free-market principles."
Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.
“America has been a world leader in innovation in large part because we’ve benefited from a free and open internet, but we won’t remain at the top by adopting backward policies that hurt consumers,” DelBene said. “I strongly oppose the FCC’s decision to fully repeal net neutrality and allow internet service providers to influence the content users can see. Given the opportunity, internet service providers could block content and services or charge premiums for the kind of open access we’ve come to expect. There’s no question that today’s vote is a massive loss, both for consumers and for innovation.”
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
"Despite the pleas of millions of Americans, President Trump’s FCC voted to change the internet as we know it, and turn it into yet another money-making tool for large corporations."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.