REMINDER: ABSENT COURT ORDER, THE NET NEUTRALITY/OPEN INTERNET RULES BECOME EFFECTIVE ON JUNE 12, 2015 – BE PREPARED!
As our firm advised in April (see Net Neutrality Client Advisory), the FCC’s March 12, 2015 Open Internet Order will (absent court intervention) become effective June 12, 2015, except for the information collection requirements in paragraphs 164, 166, 167, 169, 173, 174, 179, 180 and 181, which require OMB approval.
Since March, several interested parties have filed petitions for review of the FCC’s Order in federal court. Since then, all petitions have been consolidated in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”). In May, several petitioners petitioned the FCC to stay the section of its Order reclassifying broadband Internet access services (“BIAS”) as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act. The Wireline Competition and Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus denied the petition the following week. Thereafter, the petitioners filed a motion seeking a stay of the Order’s ruling reclassifying broadband and the Internet conduct standard (i.e. the “no unreasonable interference/disadvantage” standard) pending further review. Petitioners requested an administrative stay if the court cannot rule by June 12th. The FCC opposed the motion, to which the petitioners filed a reply reiterating their position on May 28th.
The court has yet to rule on the petitioners’ motion, although, a number of parties are expecting the D.C. Circuit to issue a partial stay before the end of the week. If the court declines to stay part of the Order, the entire Order will become effective on June 12th. Even if the court stays the Order’s ruling reclassifying BIAS as Title II telecommunications services and/or the Internet conduct standard, the open Internet rules (e.g., no blocking, no paid prioritization and no throttling) and related provisions in the Order (with the exception of those provisions subject to OMB approval) will still become effective this Friday, June 12th.
Clients are advised to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming effective date for the new net neutrality/open Internet rules. We have prepared a comprehensive memorandum which discusses all aspects of the FCC’s Order.