Mar 16, 2018 10:00:00 AM
It has been a frustrating few weeks for those of us who want to put the issue of Internet regulation behind us. On February 22, 2018 the Restoring Internet Freedom Order was finally published in the Federal Register. While that would normally provide an effective date for the Order, it did not, because the FCC is still waiting for final approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which could take several more months.
The Federal Register publication did allow parties to file appeals of the Order and many were filed by states, consumer groups, and tech companies. Appeals were filed in several courts, with the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco set to hear the case after winning a random draw. All the appeals have been consolidated into one, and a schedule to hear the case is pending.
Feb 2, 2018 9:44:00 AM
In a recent CCMI webinar I stated that the worst possible outcome for Internet regulation for the country would be for each of the 50 states to legislate their own net neutrality rules in opposition to the FCC's Internet Freedom Order, while Congress sits on its hands and does nothing. Unfortunately, more and more, that seems to be the likely outcome.
Already, within the last couple of weeks, 21 states and the District of Columbia have appealed the Order to the Federal courts while New York and Montana have introduced bills that would bar state agencies from contracted with ISPs unless they agreed to comply with the "bright line" net neutrality rules.
While it could be argued that the proposed legislation in those states does not directly challenge the Commission's Order (I'm sure the FCC thinks otherwise), the same cannot be said about the bill recently passed by the California Senate. SB-460, contains provisions that directly conflict with the Commission's removal of the bright line rules.
Topics: FCC, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, ISPs, trump, net neutrality order, internet regulation, internet freedom, CCMI, internet freedom order, congress, CRA, SB-460, commissions order, california, california senate, congressional review, supreme court
Jan 19, 2018 10:00:00 AM
That didn't take long! The FCC's January 4, 2018 Internet Freedom Order is under attack weeks before it takes effect and even before it is printed in the Federal Register. Senate Democrats launched the first barrage earlier this week when they announced they had 50 Senators, 49 Democrats and Republican Susan Collins of Maine to vote to overturn the Order using the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
The Congressional Review Act empowers Congress, by means of a simple majority vote, to remove new federal regulations issued by government agencies and ensure that a similar rule cannot be enacted in the future. When Donald Trump became President, Republicans used the CRA to overturn a flurry of rules created by the FCC in the last few months of the Obama administration, including one-sided privacy rules that would apply to ISPs but not edge providers. Under the CRA, Congress has 60 legislative days (i.e., actual days Congress is in session) to overturn the Internet Freedom Order.
Jan 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Happy New Year! 2018 is set to be the most unusual year ever for the telecom industry. In every other year I can remember, there were a set of issues everyone knew the FCC was likely to grapple with. Last year with a brand new conservative Commission it was obvious that Chairman Ajit Pai was going to reverse the 2015 net neutrality rules, eliminate one-sided ISP privacy rules (with the help of Congress) and deregulate ILEC special access services. In addition, the Commission improved the pole attachment rules, modified the Lifeline program and began looking at additional switched access reform. It was easy to criticize the FCC for many of its actions, but no one could accuse the FCC of inaction, even when they had less than a full complement of five commissioners.
Topics: regulatory updates, FCC, ILECs, Net Neutrality, Open Internet, internet regulation, open internet order, federal trade commission, internet freedom, CCMI, ajit pai, ftc, litigation, internet freedom order, open internet preservation act, congress
Dec 22, 2017 10:00:00 AM
I know this may sound strange to you young guys and gals out there, but at one time I was a big fan of the FCC. I admired the way commissioners of both parties put aside their obvious political differences to work together for the betterment of the American people.
The Commission's success stories are numerous, including developing a universal service program that made telephone service affordable for virtually all Americans, implementing the requirements of the 1996 Telecom Act to break up the Bell companies and establish competition in both the local and long-distance markets, and establishing harmonious relationships with state public utility commissions to protect individuals and companies.
Dec 15, 2017 10:00:00 AM
There is no question that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is feeling the heat for his agency voting 3-2 to eliminate the 2015 net neutrality rules. The new "Light Regulation" or as some would call "No Regulation" Internet Order ("Order) is scheduled to become effective early next year unless stayed by a court (more about that later).
We know Pai is under the gun because earlier this week his FCC issued a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) explaining how the Commission will work jointly with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect consumers on a case-by-case basis when a complaint is filed against an ISP. The MOU will become effective on the effective date of the Order
Before we discuss why we believe the MOU to be virtually useless, here are some of its key points:
Nov 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM
Internet edge (content) providers have always been some of the leading advocates for keeping the 2015 Open Internet rules for ISPs in place, including forbidding the blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of Internet traffic. For example, Twitter wrote in a blog post earlier this year that, "[w]ithout net neutrality in force, ISPs would even be able to block content they don't like, reject apps and content that compete with their own offerings, and arbitrarily discriminate against particular content providers by prioritizing certain Internet traffic over theirs."
Nov 10, 2017 10:00:00 AM
In less than two weeks the FCC is expected to make public its highly anticipated Net Neutrality Order in which it is expected to both reclassify broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as a Title I information service and eliminate most if not all of the existing net neutrality rules. ISPs are ready to rejoice. They have spent the last two years loathing and trying to overturn the strict rules established in 2015 and are finally about to get their wish. They face one problem however, many state commissions are poised to write their own net neutrality rules, many potentially in conflict with the upcoming Order. This is especially true in states led by Democrats who are adamantly opposed to any changes to the existing rules.
Oct 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM
As we enter the baseball playoffs, ISPs are covering all their bases in their efforts to overturn the FCC's 2015 Open Internet (Net Neutrality) Order. On September 28, 2017, AT&T, USTelecom and CenturyLink filed petitions with the U.S. Supreme Court, requesting the High Court to overturn the decisions of the DC Circuit Appeals in which a panel of judges supported the 2015 Open Internet Order and then refused to let the case be reheard by the entire Court. In legal terms, the Petitioners filed a "Writ of Certiorari."
Sep 29, 2017 10:00:00 AM
I can't be the only one to miss the days when one had confidence that a key FCC decision would be based on facts and analysis rather than political payback and subterfuge, can I? Because these constantly flawed 3-2 FCC decisions are getting old and extremely annoying.
This week in its latest partisan decision the Commission approved its 20th Annual Mobile Wireless Competition Report by concluding that the wireless market is competitive. This decision bothered me in several ways. First, it is clear that in reaching its conclusion, the current FCC was paying back the previous FCC for refusing to make such a finding. Second, by refusing to define "effective competition," and failing to conduct an extensive analysis of the market it is obvious that the outcome of this "investigation" was pre-ordained. Third, and most significantly, by concluding that the wireless market is working so well that it does not need onerous regulation, this Report could pave the way for the FCC supporting the rumored merger between Sprint and T-Mobile.