FCC Net Neutrality Order Publication Looms

The trigger for lawsuits and Hill challenges to the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order is expected to come Thursday (Feb. 22), when the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order is expected to be published in the Federal Register according to an FCC source.

The FCC was said to be cleaning up some of the language of the order to comport with Register style--they can be picky according to a former FCC staffer who has dealt with the process. That means the FCC has submitted the order to the Register, as well as to Capitol Hill, which the FCC did more than two weeks ago.

Publication in the Register triggers a 60-legislative day window for Congress to nullify the rules and legal challenges to the rules, though they will not become official until after the Office of Management and Budget has signed off on the reporting requirements for the enhanced transparency portion of the rule rollback, which is central to enforcing net neutrality given that the outright prohibitions on blocking and throttling and paid prioritization have been eliminated.

The FCC order made it clear the rules would not become effective until after OMB approval.

Since the legal challenges can start potentially weeks or months before the rules take effect, the initial filings probably won't include a stay of the rules since there will be no rules yet to stay.

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.