More lawsuits challenge FCC common carrier broadband rules

by Steve Blum • , ,

Everyone jumps in.

The telecoms industry is piling on the Federal Communications Commission, filing a total of five separate appeals against the decision to impose common carrier rules on broadband service and infrastructure. The petitions were submitted to the federal appeals court – circuit, as it’s called – based in Washington, DC.

The most detailed protest came from the American Cable Association (ACA), which represents small cable companies…

The order (among other things) reclassifies broadband Internet access service as a “telecommunications service” subject to common carrier regulation under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996…[the sections of Title II the FCC intends to enforce] impose significant new regulatory requirements—including substantive prohibitions, mandatory procedures, and record-keeping requirements on ACA’s members, many of which have never previously been subject to Title II regulation of any sort. The order also imposes three “open Internet” rules on broadband Internet providers: (1) a rule against blocking lawful content, applications, services, and non-harmful devices; (2) a rule against throttling lawful content, applications, services, and non- harmful devices; and (3) a rule against paid prioritization of data traffic…ACA seeks relief from the FCC’s Open Internet Order on the grounds that it is arbitrary, capricious, in excess of the FCC’s statutory authority, contrary to the Constitution, and otherwise not in accordance with law.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), which looks after the interests of the big cable boys, objected on the grounds that the FCC might eventually regulate the “rates and practices” of its members. AT&T and CTIA – the cellular industry’s lobbying front – filed virtually identical petitions, which called out the FCC’s decision to “reclassify wireless broadband Internet access service as a commercial mobile radio service, or its functional equivalent”. I’ve already written about the appeals filed by US Telecom and Alamo Broadband.

Others can still get in on the fun – there’s just under two months left to file an appeal and no shortage of lobbyists and lawyers willing to do so. The whole process will take years to play out.

ACA petition 13 April 2015

AT&T petition 13 April 2015

CTIA petition 13 April 2015

NCTA petition 13 April 2015

US Telecom revised petition 13 April 2015

US Telecom initial petition 23 March 2015

Alamo Broadband petition 23 March 2015