laptop  On May 18, 2017, at the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) May Open Meeting, the Commission adopted, on a two-one vote, a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”), titled “Restoring Internet Freedom,” that would negate and replace the Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which the NPRM refers to as the “Title II Order.”  This action begins a process that re-ignites differences between the Republicans and lone Democrat on the Commission, and signals that the effort to repeal the rules will be bumpy.  Despite all the immediate public interest and controversy surrounding the proposal, however, the notice and comment process initiated looks to take at least four months before any rule changes can be adopted, and likely several months after that before they take effect.  There are also other legal avenues that could impact the network neutrality debates—the Supreme Court could review a previous D.C. Circuit decision to uphold the Title II Order, or Congress could intervene by writing an update to the Communications Act or FTC Act that would reconsider FCC jurisdiction over Internet access services.  Either action could moot the proceeding begun today.

Continue Reading Divided FCC Begins Proceeding to Revise Internet Oversight Policy, Reverse Many “Open Internet Order” Decisions

On May 9, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order granting a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) request for rehearing en banc of the court’s earlier decision to dismiss an FTC case against AT&T Mobility over allegedly “unfair and deceptive” throttling practices in connection with wireless data services provided to

iStock_000006131068MediumOn April 27, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) released the draft text of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would launch a new FCC proceeding (WC Docket No. 17-108) to roll back the Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order and take steps to “restore Internet freedom” by deregulating broadband Internet access service (BIAS).  As discussed in more detail below, in the NPRM, the Commission proposes to restore the regulatory framework in place before the 2015 Open Internet Order (which the NPRM calls the “Title II Order”), and seeks comment on how best to achieve that outcome.

Continue Reading FCC Releases Draft of “Internet Freedom” Item in Advance of May Open Meeting

On April 26, 2017, Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) announced his plans to launch a rulemaking proceeding reassessing the FCC’s Open Internet rules.

During an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Chairman Pai announced that he would present a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to reassess many aspects of the 2015 Open Internet Order, which reclassified broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as a Title II telecommunications service and imposed a number of common-carrier style regulations on BIAS.  On May 18, 2017, Chairman Pai will ask for a Commission vote on the NPRM at the Commission’s monthly open meeting.
Continue Reading Previewing the (Net Neutrality) Road Ahead: Chairman Pai Announces a Plan to Reverse the 2015 Open Internet Order

On Thursday February 23, 2017, by a 2-1 vote, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to restore the Small Provider Exemption from the Commission’s Open Internet rules, and to expand the exemption to cover more BIAS providers.

In the 2015 Open Internet Order, the FCC adopted enhanced transparency disclosure requirements for Internet service providers by requiring providers to disclose promotional rates, all fees and/or surcharges, all data caps and allowances, and additional network performance metrics (e.g., packet loss).


Continue Reading Pai FCC Restores and Expands Small Carrier Open Internet Transparency Exemption

On January 20, 2017, Politico Pro reported that President Trump selected Republican Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai to serve as the next permanent FCC Chairman.  According to the report, Commissioner Pai will not need to go through Senate confirmation in order to become Chairman.  Instead, he will simply need the Senate to reappoint

On January 11, 2017, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB or Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) issued an informal report—“Policy Review of Mobile Broadband Operators’ Sponsored Data Offerings for Zero-Rated Content and Services”—that establishes a draft framework for reviewing mobile broadband providers’ sponsored data and zero-rated offerings and analyzes the

According to a Public Notice the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released today, on December 15, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has completed its review of the enhanced transparency rule from the 2015 Open Internet Order.

In the 2015 Order, the FCC adopted enhancements to the transparency rule, which covers both content

stock_12192012_0878Showing that it’s not about to slow down its aggressive enforcement of its open Internet regulations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a settlement yesterday resolving claims that T-Mobile USA Inc. (T-Mobile) failed to adequately disclose material restrictions on T-Mobile and MetroPCS data plans that were advertised as “unlimited” from August 2014 to June 2015.  Specifically, the FCC’s investigation found that T‑Mobile failed to adequately disclose that it would significantly slow the speed of its customers’ “unlimited” data after they reached preset, undisclosed thresholds for data usage.

The FCC’s settlement requires T-Mobile to pay a total of $48 million. It further requires T-Mobile to clearly and conspicuously disclose any material limitations on the amount and speed of mobile data for its “unlimited” plans, and includes reporting and training obligations.


Continue Reading FCC Flexes Muscle: T-Mobile to Pay $48 Million for Failing to Disclose Limits on ‘Unlimited’ Data

On October 13, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit requesting a rehearing en banc of the court’s decision in the FTC’s case against AT&T alleging that the company dramatically reduced – or “throttled” – data speeds for certain customers on unlimited data plans once those customers had used a certain level of data.  A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit determined in August 2016 that the case should be dismissed because AT&T was not subject to an FTC enforcement action due to the company’s status as a common carrier.  As we noted in a previous blog post, this case could reset the jurisdictional boundaries between the FTC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with respect to phone companies, broadband providers and other common carriers.

Continue Reading Citing an “Enforcement Gap,” FTC Seeks Rehearing En Banc of Dismissal of AT&T “Throttling” Case