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FCC Denies Title II Stay Requests

As expected, the FCC has denied cable and telco requests for stays of its Feb. 26 decision to reclassify Internet access as a Title II service.

The announcement came late Friday, and followed the deadline for filing oppositions to those stay requests.

"[T]he Commission’s Order maintains the status quo of an open Internet, which the Commission has committed to protect and promote since 2005," the Wireless Competition Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau said in releasing the orders denying all the peititons for a stay. "The record here was replete with evidence that the regulatory regime adopted in the Order is both essential to protect consumers and innovators against harms arising from a lack of openness and best serves the public interest.   Based on the analysis in the Order and the robust underlying record, we conclude that the requested stay is likely to result in harm to consumers and innovators and, for the same reasons, would be counter to the public interest."

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association and American Cable Association, which had sought the stays, have already signaled they will seek a stay in the D.C. federal appeals court where their underlying legal challenges to the FCC open Internet order.

USTelecom, CTIA-The Wireless Association, AT&T, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (“WISPA”), CenturyLink and the American Cable Association had also filed stay requests.

“The FCC took the only sensible course of action when it denied these meritless requests to delay the implementation of the agency’s common-sense open Internet framework," said Free Press policy counsel Lauren Wilson. "The phone and cable lobby will likely trot out these same tired arguments in court, once again bemoaning the fact that the FCC returned to Title II's solid legal foundation to protect Internet users from ISP plans to block, slow or throttle Internet connections."

“It is deeply disappointing that the FCC has refused a fair and reasonable request to delay the imposition of sweeping new regulations of the Internet that will impact investment in our broadband ecosystem," said Telecommunications Industry Association CEO Scott Belcher. "Let me be clear, these rules will curtail the deployment and expansion of communications networks.” TIA represents communications network manufacturers and suppliers.

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.