Appeals of FCC Net Neutrality Order Move to D.C. Circuit

Turns out the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will be hearing the appeals of the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order.

That court has principal jurisdiction over FCC decisions.

The court heard the two previous appeals -- of the 2011 Open Internet Order, which it overturned, and the 2015 Open Internet Order, which it upheld as not arbitrary and capricious.

The Judicial Conference lottery, which is held when appeals are filed in multiple venues, had chosen the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but there had been a motion, unopposed, to instead consolidate the cases in the D.C. Circuit.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit has granted that request, so the case moves to D.C.

The appeals are of the FCC's Dec. 14 decision to eliminate the rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, to reclassify internet access providers as Title I information services not subject to common-carrier regs, to eliminate the general conduct standard through which the FCC could regulate ISP practices not covered by those rules but which it concluded violated internet openness, and enhance ISP reporting requirements so that the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department could determine what practices were unfair, deceptive or anticompetitive and take action.

“The D.C. Circuit is an appropriate venue given its long history with this issue, but we’d fight broadband discrimination even if this case were transferred to the moon," said Computer & Communications Industry Association President Ed Black. "We are intervening in this case because CCIA is committed to ensuring that the internet will be governed by the principles of net neutrality and open access.”

John Eggerton

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.