It’s not déjà vu. Telecom trade association USTelecom today really did file a challenge to the FCC’s recent Title II decision that is almost identical to a challenge that the telecom trade association filed a few weeks ago.
The reason for the move is that there were three elements to the FCC’s Title II decision – and some of those elements have different deadlines for when challenges can be filed. Hence, the near-duplicate filing.
The two elements of the FCC’s action on Title II that USTelecom is challenging are a declaratory ruling and an order on remand. And as USTelecom Senior Vice President of Law and Policy Jonathan Banks explained on a conference call with reporters today, the deadline for challenging the declaratory ruling has already passed, yet it was not possible to challenge the order on remand until now. That apparently was a reference to the publication of the FCC’s Title II decision in the Federal Register.
Ultimately, Banks believes that “the FCC will argue that it’s one single item,” which could mean that the commission will have to do a new lottery to determine where the case will be heard. A lottery previously determined that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit would hear challenges.
USTelecom Filing Against Broadband Title II Reclassification
Today’s filing, Banks said, “was driven by concern over reclassifying broadband. This is an industry that has thrived for years under light touch regulation.”
USTelecom is challenging the FCC on several points. Reclassifying broadband as a more heavily regulated Title II telecommunications service rather than a Title I information service was “arbitrary and capricious,” Banks said. Additionally he argued that the FCC did not provide sufficient notice that it was planning to make the change or that it planned to regulate interconnection services.
The USTelecom filings do not directly challenge the Net Neutrality rules also included in the FCC’s February actions, but Banks said issues about those rules will be addressed as part of the judicial process that will unroll in response to the association’s filings and other challenges.