FCC's Net Neutrality Rules Published

Monday, Apr 13, 2015

The FCC's new network neutrality order was published Thursday (April 10) in the Federal Register, which is expected to trigger more lawsuits and starts the clock on the rules' official start date.

The rules, reclassifying Internet access as a Title II telecommunications service, will take effect 60 days from today, April 13.

While phone association USTelecom and Alamo Broadband have already filed suit in different appeals court, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, by lottery, has consolidated the appeals in the D.C. Circuit, it is possible those two suites could be ruled premature, since they were filed before publication in the Register.

USTelecom and Alamo both conceded they thought the filings could be premature, and the Register publication was the trigger, they were not sure whether the 10-day window for filings that could be in the lottery was triggered by declaratory rulings in the decision that were effective upon the Feb. 26 vote (they filed their court challenges March 6).

If they are ruled premature, both plan to refile the suits, and others are expected to join them. CTIA: The Wireless Association has pledged to sue, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and American Cable Association have said they may also.

If the two initial suits are ruled to be premature, and they are refiled in two different courts along with new suits, and they are filed or refiled within ten days after the April 10 publication, there could be another lottery and, conceivably, a new appeals court venue for the challenges.

Most critics of the rules would prefer the D.C. Circuit, which has twice ruled against FCC net neutrality regs, first against its Comcast-BitTorrent decision based on what the court concluded were unenforceable open Internet principles, and the second time rejecting most of the 2010 Open Internet order for insufficient legal justification.

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