Posted: appeals court decision affirming FCC net neutrality, common carrier rules

by Steve Blum • , ,

Update:

The appeals court is putting its decision on hold for seven days, to allow time for further appeals. As a practical matter, it doesn’t mean much: the FCC’s broadband common carrier rules have been in effect all along and will remain in effect.

You can download the decision here:

United States Telecom Association, Et Al., Petitioners
V.
Federal Communications Commission And United States Of America,
Respondents
Independent Telephone & Telecommunications Alliance, Et Al.,
Intervenors

184 pages – good reading!

Update:

The rejection appears to be complete and unconditional:

In our first decision, Comcast Corp. v. FCC, we held that the Commission had failed to cite any statutory authority that would justify its order compelling a broadband provider to adhere to certain open internet practices. In response, relying on section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Commission issued an order imposing transparency, anti- blocking, and anti-discrimination requirements on broadband providers. In our second opinion, Verizon v. FCC, we held that section 706 gives the Commission authority to enact open internet rules. We nonetheless vacated the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination provisions because the Commission had chosen to classify broadband service as an information service under the Communications Act of 1934, which expressly prohibits the Commission from applying common carrier regulations to such services. The Commission then promulgated the order at issue in this case—the 2015 Open Internet Order—in which it reclassified broadband service as a telecommunications service, subject to common carrier regulation under Title II of the Communications Act. The Commission also exercised its statutory authority to forbear from applying many of Title II’s provisions to broadband service and promulgated five rules to promote internet openness. Three separate groups of petitioners, consisting primarily of broadband providers and their associations, challenge the Order, arguing that the Commission lacks statutory authority to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, that even if the Commission has such authority its decision was arbitrary and capricious, that the Commission impermissibly classified mobile broadband as a commercial mobile service, that the Commission impermissibly forbore from certain provisions of Title II, and that some of the rules violate the First Amendment. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we deny the petitions for review.