Internet Providers Seek To Halt Title II Reclassification

 

It seems more and more evident that internet service providers will be using every trick in their arsenal to stop or, at least, slow down the rollout of the Federal Communication Commission’s decision to reclassify providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communication Act. As many of the major companies have filed lawsuits, it seems that many cable groups are preventing the action from taking affect prior to a court’s ruling.

Cable groups like the National Cable & Telecommunications Associations and the American Cable Association, the Wireless Association and USTelecom (which is acting on behalf of Verizon and AT&T) have filed a petition to stay the ruling in case the appeals turn toward the cable companies’ favor.

Now, the providers are required to petition the FCC before they ask for a stay in court. The idea is to get the FCC to approve the stay without making having the court get involved. Although, it seems like a flight of fancy that the FCC would rule in their favor. USTelecom asked the FCC to act by May 8 “to allow adequate time for a judicial stay determination, if necessary.”

In order to make their request somewhat bearable, they are asking for only a partial stay, leaving the net neutrality rules that ban blocking or discrimination against traffic. Of course, providers are fighting to overturn the reclassification that was needed to put net neutrality rules in place.

“[T]he order claims FCC control over peering agreements involving broadband Internet access providers, inserting the FCC into Internet peering for the first time,” USTelecom said in its announcement. “This claim of control raises concerns that this area of the Internet would be subject to governmental delays and second guessing, harming investment and innovation. Since the order was adopted, some companies have already threatened to initiate FCC enforcement actions to achieve peering arrangements favorable to them, no matter what the balance of traffic is between providers. In the past, agreements were negotiated party-to-party without any government involvement.”

The reclassification is set to take place on June 12th, which puts providers under the gun to get a judicial reversal but many consider that a long shot. Another issue that providers would have to deal with under Title II would be the ability to let internet customers complain about unjust and unreasonable charges. Thus holding them responsible to the FCC and have to answer for. Obviously, they do not like this change as well.

 

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