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FCC votes again on Restoring Internet Freedom Order

WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission today adopted an Order on Remand in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's remand of three discrete issues for further consideration by the FCC regarding its 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The court's October 2019 ruling in Mozilla Corp. v. FCC affirmed the FCC's decision to end its brief foray into heavy-handed utility-style regulation of the Internet under rules designed in the 1930s for the Ma Bell telephone monopoly and to restore the light-touch regulatory framework under which a free and open Internet rapidly developed and flourished for almost two decades. The Court's decision also upheld the FCC's robust transparency rule ensuring consumers are fully informed about their online options.

Today's action addresses the few remaining issues the court asked the FCC to consider. Specifically, the court asked the FCC to evaluate any impacts that its reclassification of broadband as an information service and elimination of conduct rules might have on public safety, pole attachment regulations, and the inclusion of broadband in the universal service Lifeline program. After thoroughly reviewing the record compiled in response to its request for additional comment on these issues, the FCC found no basis to alter the FCC's conclusions in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The Order on Remand finds that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order promotes public safety, facilitates broadband infrastructure deployment by Internet service providers, and allows the FCC to continue to provide Lifeline support for broadband Internet access service.

Since the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the United States has set annual records for new fiber deployment, the installation of new wireless cell sites has increased dramatically, and average fixed broadband download speeds have more than doubled according to Ookla.

Action by the Commission October 27, 2020 by Order on Remand (FCC 20-151). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O'Rielly and Carr approving. Commissioners Rosenworcel and Starks dissenting. Chairman Pai, Commissioners O'Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks issuing separate statements.

FCC

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