On Friday, February 1, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held a marathon oral argument in Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, No. 18-1051 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 22, 2018), in which various petitioners challenged the Federal Communications Commission’s (“Commission’s”) 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (“2018 Order”).
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Hears Challenge To Federal Communications Commission’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order

Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court denied requests by the Trump Administration and telecommunications industry players to vacate a prior decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s”) 2015 Open Internet Order, which adopted a suite of Net Neutrality regulations. As a result, the D.C. Circuit’s earlier decision remains standing while challenges to the FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which repealed the earlier Net Neutrality regulations, proceed before the D.C. Circuit.
Continue Reading As The “Net Neutrality” World Turns . . . .

This week, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s”) Restoring Internet Freedom Order took effect, rolling back the public-utility style regulation of Internet service providers (“ISPs”) pursuant to title II of the Communications Act, imposed during the prior administration by the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order (“2015 Order”). The agency’s return to a light touch regulatory approach has sparked public debate since FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed it more than a year ago. And while the FCC’s action is already the subject of several judicial challenges consolidated in the D.C. Circuit, a number of states have also sought to impose their own state-specific net neutrality legislation. But it remains to be seen whether individual states can impose net neutrality obligations on ISPs, particularly in light of the FCC’s invocation of its preemption authority in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.
Continue Reading Back To The Future: FCC Returns To Light Touch Regulation Of The Internet

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) asserted broad regulatory authority over the Internet and broadband Internet service providers when it reclassified Internet access service as a “common carrier” service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 in its 2015 Net Neutrality Order (discussed in detail here).  One of the many important questions left unanswered by the FCC’s reclassification decision was whether and to what extent the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) retained authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to prohibit deceptive or unfair acts and practices by Internet service providers, in light of Section 5’s exemption of “common carriers” subject to the Communications Act.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Removes FTC From The Beat: Agency Lacks Authority To Police Common Carriers Engaged In Non-Common Carrier Activities

The FCC voted yesterday 3-2 along party lines to promulgate new rules necessary to protect the “Open Internet.”  At the core of the Commission’s action lies its decision to reclassify Internet services as a “telecommunications” instead of “information” services and regulate the services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.  This reclassification, led by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, expands the FCC’s regulation of fixed wireline and mobile broadband Internet services as “common carriers.”  This move is grounded in the notion that control of the Internet is too important not to be regulated, and it marks a dramatic reversal in the way Internet services have historically been regulated.  The FCC has not yet released the Order, but the FCC’s statement, remarks made by the Commissioners, and the Fact Sheet distributed by the Chairman’s office on February 4th reveal what appear to be the core elements of the Commission’s action.
Continue Reading Cyberspace Oddity: The FCC Regulates Internet Services as Common Carrier Telecommunications Services, “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet”

Following the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Verizon v. FCC, which struck down several key elements of the Federal Communication Commission’s 2010 Open Internet Order, the Commission yesterday released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that initiated a renewed effort to foster and protect an “open” Internet. In what is likely to become a highly-contested proceeding, the FCC is proposing regulations to guard against the “real threat” posed by the power of broadband providers while remaining within the bounds of its authority as recently clarified by the D.C. Circuit.[1]
Continue Reading Once More Unto the Breach: the FCC Calls for Comments on Revamping Net Neutrality Regulations

On December 21, 2010, the FCC approved controversial net neutrality rules in a party-line vote.  Democratic Commissioners Copps and Clyburn joined Chairman Genachowski in approving the Order, despite concerns that it did not go far enough.  Republican Commissioners McDowell and Baker wrote lengthy dissents, arguing that the FCC had stepped far beyond its regulatory authority in approving Internet regulations.
 


Continue Reading FCC Approves Controversial Net Neutrality Rules

The FCC received thousands of comments last week in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding the appropriate regulatory classification for broadband Internet service. At issue is the hotly-debated topic of whether and how broadband services should be regulated after the DC Circuit’s recent Comcast decision, which held that the FCC lacked the authority to regulate a broadband service provider’s network management practicesSee FCC Law Blog Post  (Apr. 7, 2010).
Continue Reading Comments Received In FCC Reclassification Proceeding

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to regulate Internet service providers’ network management practices.  The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel immediately throws into question the FCC’s ability to require Internet providers to treat all network traffic equally (a concept known as "net neutrality"). The ruling may also hinder the FCC’s efforts to move forward with key aspects of its National Broadband Plan for expanding high-speed Internet service nationwide. 


Continue Reading FCC Loses Net Neutrality Suit