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VoIP Pioneer Seeks Title II Stay

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

Other court challenges have already been filed as a consolidated request among more than a half-dozen parties, including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the American Cable Association. But Berninger, who has been leading a group of self-described "tech elders" who are opposed to Title II, including broadband video pioneer Mark Cuban, 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 communication 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 those 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that cannot clearly operate with the uncertainty or deal with the regulatory burdens associated with these incredibly outdated and ill-fitting rules," he said in filing the stay request.

John Eggerton
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.