FCC Petitioned to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

FCC's 2020 seal
(Image credit: FCC)

INCOMPAS, whose members include competitive carriers and computer companies, has petitioned the FCC to restore its net neutrality rules.

In a petition for reconsideration, the association told the FCC that it needs to reclassify internet access services (ISPs) as Title II telecommunications service--subject to common carrier rules--and reissue the rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, which were eliminated by the FCC under chairman Ajit Pai.

Current acting chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, is a fan of the Title II designation and voted against the FCC's reclassification to Title I and elimination of the rules.

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The FCC under Pai reclassified ISPs as Title I information services not subject to mandatory carriage or, potentially, rate regulations, and eliminated those rules, imposed by the previous Democratic FCC, as well as a catch-all rule that would allow the FCC to regulate conduct that did not fall under the other rules but that it concluded might hurt an open internet.

The reclassification would continue the pendulum swing between rules and no rules, depending on whether a Republican or Democrat was chairman. Democratic chairman Julius Genachowski did come up with compromise rules, though ones not grounded in Title II. A court threw those out after Verizon, not part of the compromise, challenged them. 

The pendulum arguably began swinging after then-FCC chairman Michael Powell proposed net neutrality  principles of openness and accessibility, but which a court found were not enforceable.

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INCOMPAS said the rules needed to be returned because the FCC, in eliminating them, did not sufficiently address concerns about their impact on public safety communications and access to poles, ducts and conduits, which require Title II for the FCC to assert its authority over.

INCOMPAS also says the FCC needs to reassert its jurisdiction over interconnections, too, which the Pai FCC un-asserted through its Restoring Internet Freedom order.

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.