Communications -- 2016

United States Telecom Ass'n. v. Federal Communications Commission   (D.C. Circuit)

Net Neutrality

The NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action leads a business community coalition on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet Order. The coalition, which includes the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, supported the telecommunications industry’s challenge, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, arguing that the FCC’s reclassification must be set aside because it is contrary to the Communications Act of 1934 and was promulgated in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

The D.C. Circuit has previously found that the Communications Act of 1934 gives the FCC the authority to limit private companies from charging different amounts of money for different internet speed types. Currently the FCC treats broadband internet as a “telecommunications service” subjecting providers to a host of new costs and fees for access to poles, conduits, rights of way; state and local taxes and fees; and related fees estimated at $11 billion per year. The NAM amicus brief articulated the broad cross-industry impact of the FCC’s net neutrality rulemaking on innovation and spectrum access and asked the appeals court to reverse the lower court’s ruling. Specifically, the brief argued that under the FCC’s Order, thousands of broadband providers will find their “rates” and “practices” subject to the broad and ambiguous standards and will decrease the variety and quality of internet services.

On June 14, 2016, the D.C. Circuit rejected the challenges to the FCC's rules. It found that the Commission has the authority to classify broadband as a telecommunications service. It also rejected a variety of other challenges to the rules as well.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (August 5, 2015)


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