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Clock Ticking on Net-Neutrality Rule Kickoff

At press time, about 10 a.m. Thursday (June 11), a D.C. Federal Appeals court had yet to render a verdict on ISP requests that it stay the June 12 effective date of the FCC's reclassification of Internet access under Title II common carrier regs.

The court is under no deadline to rule before June 12, but it was widely expected to either do so or grant a temporary  administrative stay of the rules if it needed a little more time to decide whether to stay them until it has decided on the underlying challenge.

ISPs are not challenging the rules per se, but only the reclassification, its application to interconnections on a case-by-case complaint basis, and a general Internet conduct standard that gives the FCC, again on a case-by-case basis to rule various businesses practices, current or future, out of bounds if it concludes they impair an open Internet.

ISPs say they can live with the no blocking or throttling or paid prioritization rules, but not the rest.

The case is being heard by a three-judge panel, so that decision could then be appealed by either side to the full court. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has signaled it is unlikely to do so. The American Cable Association, which joined NCTA in the stay request, had no comment.

A spokesperson for US Telecom, which also challenged the rules, said that a final decision on what to do next won't be made until the court decides on the stay.

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.