The FCC Wins a Round in Court

June 15th, 2016 by · 1 Comment

Internet activists are celebrating while large telecommunications providers are regrouping today.  Yesterday the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the FCC’s current implementation of network neutrality.

In a 2-1 vote, the court decided that the FCC does indeed have the power  to reclassify broadband under Title II and thereby impose net neutrality.  It’s not the end of the road for this battle.  As is generally the case in the legal world, there are appeals in the works already with a run at the Supreme Court in the works.  Of course, with only 8 justices currently on the Supreme Court and no new nominee likely for a while, there might not be help there for the opponents of net neutrality.

They are now in the position of having to overturn a ruling, which is a harder path than the last time.  Verizon successfully challenged the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules and it was the FCC doing the appealing, leading to a Verizon victory in 2014.  Of course, that then led to this new approach and the use of the Title II sledgehammer.

Has the new regulatory regime slowed investment by telecommunications providers on new infrastructure?  It’s not so easy a thing to analyze effectively, and those that try always seem to come out with a result that supports their position, whichever side that may be.  The expansion of fiber in the last mile remains glacial, but the number of such projects is expanding and on the mobile side infrastructure continues to evolve rapidly with small cells now finding deployments and C-RAN no longer beyond the horizon.

For the most part, it seems to me that as usual most people outside the regulatory world have already moved on from network neutrality to the next phase.  Both Verizon and AT&T are bidding for Yahoo and a bigger stake in the content side of things, and we have seen content players like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook picking up part of the tab for more and more new submarine cable systems.


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Categories: Government Regulations · ILECs, PTTs

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  • mhammett says:

    It’s not just large providers. WISPA was one of the organizations petitioning and it’s average member has under 1,000 customers.

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