A July 30th brief filed by several U.S. telcos and telecom organizations with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia summarizes the arguments that the parties will use in attempting to overturn the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband as a Title II communications service. The FCC made that decision earlier this year, in large part, to give itself the authority to impose Net Neutrality, also known as Open Internet, rules.
Parties making the filing include USTelecom, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, CTIA—The Wireless Association, the American Cable Association, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, AT&T and CenturyLink.
“Under the guise of ensuring that the Internet remains ‘open,’ the [FCC] upends the decades-old status quo by subjecting the service that offers consumers the capability to access and use the Internet – broadband Internet access service – to heavy-handed, public-utility-style regulation designed for 19th-century railroads and 1930s telephone monopolies,” the brief argues.
Arguments Against Broadband Reclassification
A USTelecom blog post summarizes the parties’ arguments:
- The commission reversed years of established regulatory history and ignores billions of dollars of investment built under the expectation that broadband would continue to be a lightly-regulated information service. In so doing, the FCC failed to provide evidence to support its “abrupt shift in regulatory stance.”
- Reclassifying mobile broadband as a common carrier service violates years of FCC policy that assumed mobile broadband was an information service. This cannot be justified by the FCC’s assertion that the commercial success of mobile broadband merits a change in status or that “fixed broadband’s reclassification compels a parallel framework for mobile.”
- The FCC’s assumption of authority over interconnection agreements and creation of a “vaguely defined” Internet Conduct Standard are illegal because those moves are based on the improper classification of broadband.
- When the commission reclassified broadband, it did not follow the standard notice and public comment processes required by the Administrative Procedure Act. The order reclassifying broadband “is not a culmination of a thoughtful and deliberative process, but one put together in haste and influenced by politics,” the post notes.