Today, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the American Cable Association (ACA) jointly filed a Petition for Stay Pending Judicial Review with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning its February 26, 2015 decision to change the classification of broadband Internet access service that will impose utility-style regulation on Internet service providers. The stay petition was filed at the FCC, a procedural requirement before a similar request can be filed with the Court of Appeals (attached).
In support of the stay filing, several Internet service providers submitted declarations detailing harms that will be caused by the FCC’s decision to apply Title II common carrier regulation to providers of broadband Internet access service. These harms will impose immediate and substantial burdens on both providers and consumers, including:
- The Order subjects Internet providers to vague and onerous standards, creating significant uncertainty about the introduction of new services and exposing providers to costly litigation -- including class action lawsuits -- that will lead to rate regulation.
- Reclassification subjects Internet providers to new obligations regarding customer information that will require purchasing new equipment, implementing new monitoring procedures and hiring and training new staff to comply.
- Reclassification opens the door for pole owners to impose higher attachment rates, significantly raising the cost of deploying broadband.
- Reclassification opens the door to state and local taxes and fees for ISPs and their customers.
NCTA and ACA’s filing does not ask the Commission to stay the bright-line open Internet rules that were adopted as part of the FCC’s Order and that cable ISPs have long followed in practice. It instead requests immediate action to stay the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband under Title II as well as the vague and newly created “conduct” standard that will otherwise apply to provider conduct when the rules go into effect.