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Stay vs. 'Administrative' Stay

The following is a public service announcement for those tracking, and especially reporting on, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and its highly anticipated decision—presumably this week—on whether it grants an ISP-sought stay of the FCC's reclassification of ISPs under Title II common carrier regs. To re-coin a new adage: Check twice, Tweet once.

Journalists, being journalists, will try to beat each other to the news of a stay—present company not excluded—and stakeholders will be almost as quick to react with statements already being polished in advance, likely one for each outcome.

If the court announces it has granted an "administrative stay," don't mistake that for a stay on the merits advises one attorney involved in the case. That misunderstanding could lead to some confusion and mis-reporting, though never from these quarters, of course.

Although the attorney said it was unlikely to happen, if the court did grant an administrative stay, it would mean it as not quite finished making the decision on the stay request itself and needed a little more time to decide. With the deadline for the rules to go into effect coming up on June 12, it would be a way to delay that deadline, perhaps only for a few days.

On the other hand, granting a stay would mean reclassification would be on hold, likely for the better part of a year, at least.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.