FCC Defends Its Open Internet Decision

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chairman Wheeler Predicts FCC Will Beat Legal Challenge To Net Neutrality.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler (L) and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai visit before testifying to the House Judiciary Committee about Internet regulation in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.

On Friday Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam sent a letter to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress urging them to push forward with legislative efforts to update the 1996 Telecommunications Act and defang the FCC, according to The Hill. The FCC’s Wireline Competition and Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau has scheduled an April 28 workshop to help determine the Sec. 222 duty on telecommunications carriers, which ISPs are now considered per the Feb. 26 title II order, to impose “on every telecommunications carrier to protect the confidentiality of its customers’ information and imposes restrictions on carriers’ ability to use, disclose, or permit access to customers’ individually identifiable customer proprietary network information (CPNI).” The FCC decided not to apply the same rules it applied to phone company CPNI, saying that may not be the best fit, so now it needs to figure out what is the best fit, including perhaps coming up with new rules that apply to telcos and ISPS. “The staff-led workshop will provide an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to explore a range of matters associated with the application of statutory privacy protections to broadband Internet access service,” the FCC said. “Participants will also have the opportunity to address whether and to what extent the Commission can apply a harmonized privacy framework across various services within the Commission’s jurisdiction.”

Not only the communications attorneys scrutinized the 313-page document, the cable and telecom sector has riddled Tom Wheeler’s new rules with endless lawsuits pushing the regulatory authorities to scratch the regulations. Verizon, for instance, recently agreed to let its customers opt out of a controversial ad-targeting program that involved adding tracking headers to all mobile traffic.

That gives me great confidence going forward that we will prevail.” USTelecom and Alamo Broadband filed separate suits last week in federal court asking that the rules be set aside because the agency acted beyond its authority. In the most predictable development in the commission’s net neutrality saga so far, the Telecom Association launched a lawsuit last week to block the commission’s Open Internet regulations. He went on to say that “the big winners will be America’s consumers and innovators and our economy as a whole,” according to a text of the speech made available by the FCC. “We will finally have strong, enforceable rules that assure that Internet remains open now, and into the future.” Wheeler appeared before five different Congressional hearings over the past two weeks. The DC Circuit sent the previous Open Internet Order back to us and basically said, “You’re trying to impose common carrier-like regulation without stepping up and saying, ‘these are common carriers.’” We have addressed that issue, which is the underlying issue in all of the debates we’ve had so far. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., expressed concern that Republicans were turning the rules “into another wedge issue to attack the president.” Before that hearing, Wheeler had appeared at three other House hearings and a Senate Commerce oversight hearing in the previous two weeks.

When the FCC did so last month, the agency suggested that broadband carriers would have to follow some of the same privacy standards as telephone companies. He referenced the experience in his speech, thanking officials for asking him to appear there. “It’s great to be here, and I’m not just saying that because I spent five of the previous eight weekdays testifying before Congress,” Wheeler said.

But at the same time, Wheeler echoes one of his top lawyers, Gigi Sohn, who first extolled the use of Title II in the agency’s plan, among other legal tools, in an interview with TechCrunch: We like to say it’s the belt, the belt and the suspenders. While the FCC has developed numerous rules governing the privacy of telephone users, the agency says those restrictions won’t necessarily protect broadband users, given the vast amount of Web-browsing data available to providers. As one of the FCC’s biggest critic Jose Marquez puts it: “The FCC’s unnecessary action is legally questionable and will result in years of litigation…” Even with all the wind of pessimism and criticism swirling about the rules, it does not imply Mr.

The agency will have the power to ensure that ISPs do not discriminate and exploit against content companies, unlawfully and unjustly, by forming “slow lanes” on the broadband they provide.

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