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VoIP Pioneer Berninger Seeks Title II Stay

Daniel Berninger has decided to go it alone in his request for a court stay of the FCC's reclassification of Internet access as a Title II service subject to common carrier regulation.

Other court challenges, including by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and American Cable Association, have already been filed as a consolidated request among more than a half-dozen parties. But Berninger, who has been leading a group of self-described "tech elders," including broadband video pioneer Mark Cuban, who are opposed to Title II, has decided to go it alone in his filing, as he did in asking the FCC to stay its rules— it didn't — scheduled to go into effect June 12 absent a court stay.

Berninger said Title II regulations would prevent him from offering HD voice because "latency, jitter, and packet loss in the transmission of a communications will threaten voice quality and destroy the value proposition of an HD service."

That distinguishes Berninger's stay from the others, which are not challenging the underlying bright line rules, including against paid prioritization, but are instead focused on staying Title II reclassification, including interconnection under that regime, and the FCC's broad Internet conduct standard.

Berninger made a point of drawing his own bright line between his challenge and those of the consolidated petitioners that include the nation's largest telephone and cable operators.

"Despite well-funded efforts to make this fight big ISPs versus content companies, the FCC's Open Internet Order threatens the entire Internet value chain, including entrepreneurs and small businesses like mine that cannot clearly operate with the uncertainty or deal with the regulatory burdens associated with these incredibly outdated and ill-fitting rules," he said in filing the stay request. "The reality is that when the FCC sticks its hand in the management of networks, enormous collateral damage is felt across industries, not just for providers big and small, and threatens the future of the Internet. The FCC cannot continue to lump me and other entrepreneurs into the same category as the service providers."

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.