Court of Appeals Upholds Majority of FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order
In its decision the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the majority of the FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom order with two exceptions. First, the Court concluded that the FCC’s preemption barring states from imposing more stringent rules or requirements should be vacated. Second, the Court remanded three separate issues back to the FCC: (1) an examination of the implications of the FCC’s decisions for public safety; (2) a sufficient explanation of what reclassification will mean for the regulation of pole attachments; and (3) a more in depth review of the effects of broadband reclassification on the Lifeline Program. Inteserra Briefing Service subscribers stay tuned for the upcoming Briefing.
Chairman Pai released a statement on the decision.
“Today’s decision is a victory for consumers, broadband deployment, and the free and open Internet. The court affirmed the FCC’s decision to repeal 1930s utility-style regulation of the Internet imposed by the prior Administration. The court also upheld our robust transparency rule so that consumers can be fully informed about their online options. Since we adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, consumers have seen 40% faster speeds and millions more Americans have gained access to the Internet. A free and open Internet is what we have today and what we’ll continue to have moving forward. We look forward to addressing on remand the narrow issues that the court identified.”
Commissioner Rosenworcel also released a statement.
“When the FCC rolled back net neutrality it was on the wrong side of the American people and the wrong side of history. Today’s court decision shows that the agency also got it wrong on the law. The agency made a mess when it gave broadband providers the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content.
Today’s court decision vacates the FCC’s unlawful effort to block states and localities from protecting an open internet for their citizens. From small towns to big cities, from state houses to governors’ executive actions, states and localities have been stepping in because the FCC shirked its duties. In addition, the court took the agency to task for disregarding its duty to consider how its decision threatens public safety, Lifeline service, and broadband infrastructure. As the FCC revisits its policies in light of the court’s directives, I hope it has the courage to run an open and fair process.
The momentum around the country is proof the American people are not done fighting for an open internet. I’m proud to stand with them in that fight.”
The Regulatory Mix Today: Court of Appeals Upholds Majority of FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, US House Hearing on Corporate Responsibility Online, FCC Chairman Pai Appoints New Policy Advisor
FCC Chairman Pai Appoints New Policy Advisor
In a press release, the FCC announced that Evan Swarztrauber has joined Chairman Pai’s office as a Policy Advisor. “I’m pleased to have Evan join our team,” said Chairman Pai. “Having served in Commissioner Carr’s office, he brings a wealth of experience on telecom issues and is well positioned to advance our policy agenda.”
“Evan did great work on a range of policy initiatives—from media modernization and cable franchise reform to wireless infrastructure and workforce development,” said Commissioner Carr. “He has a knack for communicating complex and technical issues in a way that makes sense to everyday Americans while building support from a variety of stakeholders. I’m glad the FCC will continue to benefit from his service.”
US House Hearing on Corporate Responsibility Online
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) announced that their three Subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on Wednesday, October 16, exploring online content moderation practices and whether consumers are adequately protected under current law. “The Internet has opened America’s homes to a wealth of social, economic and educational opportunities. Sadly, bad actors, both foreign and domestic, have abused this access to peddle extremism, disinformation and hatred that divides our nation,” Pallone, Doyle, and Schakowsky said. “This hearing will explore whether online companies are appropriately using the tools they have – including protections Congress granted in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – to foster a healthier Internet.”
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.
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