FCC Starks on Open Internet aka Restoring Internet Freedom Oral Argument
FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks offered the following statement after the February 1, 2019, oral argument in Mozilla v. FCC, the appeal of the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order. “Today in federal court, this FCC is attempting to explain why it ignored the evidence before it and hastily abandoned the carefully crafted, common sense Open Internet framework established in 2015. In the process, it ignored the will of millions of people who made their support for a free and open Internet crystal clear. Like many others, I am paying close attention.
We know that consumers cannot count on the goodwill of big business to protect their interests. Unfettered access to the Open Internet provides a gateway to opportunity. Strong, enforceable rules empower consumers to make sure they get the service that they pay for and expect. I strongly believe that the FCC made the right call with the framework it established in 2015, and I am hopeful that these critical consumer protections will soon be restored.”
The Regulatory Mix Today: FCC Starks on Open Internet aka Restoring Internet Freedom Oral Argument, Senator Markey on Net Neutrality Legislation, FCC Proceeding On Video Description Marketplace
After attending the February 1 oral argument in Mozilla v. FCC, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) issued a statement saying: “Whether in the halls of the courts or the halls of Congress, we will fight to defend net neutrality. Nothing less than the fate of the internet is being argued in this court case, and we must do everything we can in this historic fight. We will soon lay down a legislative marker in the Senate in support of net neutrality to show the American people that we are on their side in overwhelming supporting a free and open internet.
Both the plain language and Congressional intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 make clear that today, broadband access to the internet is a telecommunications service. As the House author of that landmark bill, I know first-hand what we intended. Yet Chairman Pai and President Trump ignored the statute and Congress’s intent when the FCC reclassified broadband back to an information service and eviscerated the net neutrality rules. They are on the wrong side of history, and I believe the court will find in our favor.”
Senator Markey attended oral argument to support the case of internet companies and 22 state attorneys general who say the FCC lacked the legal reasoning for throwing out net neutrality regulations. In August 2018, he and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) led more than 100 members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in the case.
FCC Proceeding on Video Description Marketplace
The FCC’s Media Bureau is seeking comment on recent developments in the video description marketplace to inform a report to Congress required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) on the availability, use, benefits, and costs of video description, which must be completed no later than October 8, 2019. (Video description is “[t]he insertion of audio narrated descriptions of a television program’s key visual elements into natural pauses between the program’s dialogue” and makes video programming accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.) Among other things, the FCC seeks comment and data on:
- the amount of video-described programming that is currently available to consumers on television, as well as the types of programming that are provided with video description.
- the extent to which both visually impaired and non-visually impaired consumers use video description services when viewing television programming, as well as the benefits to consumers of such services.
- the costs of providing video description for video programming on television.
- the availability of, and demand or need for, video description outside the currently covered market areas; and
- the availability of, and demand or need for, video description outside the currently covered market areas.
Comments are due April 1, 2019; reply comments are due May 1, 2019.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.