Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Action is first step in appeals process to protect a fair and open internet

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed a petition to appeal the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to rescind net neutrality rules.

The FCC’s decision repealed Obama-era rules that prohibited internet service providers from treating websites differently based on their content. The FCC order also prevents states from being able to protect their consumers from illegal actions taken by internet service providers.

Along with a coalition of 21 other states and the District of Columbia, the Attorney General’s Office filed the petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The petition is the first step by states to attempt to block the FCC’s decision, and it will allow the attorneys general to move forward with the appeal in the future.

“Allowing powerful special interest to act as the internet’s gatekeepers harms consumers, innovation and small businesses,” said Ferguson. “We believe the FCC acted unlawfully when it gutted net neutrality, and I look forward to holding the FCC accountable to the rule of law.”

On December 14, the FCC voted to rescind rules that prevented internet service providers, such as Comcast and Century Link, from discriminating based on content. That same day, Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee announced their intent to appeal the decision.

“Protecting net neutrality is as critical as protecting free speech. The FCC’s attack on the open internet is bad for Washingtonians, bad for business and a major step backward. I’m glad that Washington is leading the fight against the FCC’s kowtow to corporate lobbyists and continuing the fight for net neutrality,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.

The attorneys general allege that the FCC decision violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the process for federal agency rulemaking. The states also challenge the decision, stating that it violates the Constitution and the Communications Act of 1934.

Assistant Attorney General Tiffany Lee of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is lead attorney in the case for Washington.



The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.




Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov