Steve Goodman has been practicing telecommunications law since 1983, when he began working at the Federal Communications Commission. He now represents a wide variety of clients, including telecommunications equipment manufacturers, satellite service providers and international carriers.
Net Neutrality is back in the spotlight. On October first, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case where numerous parties challenged the FCC's most recent Net Neutrality rulemaking order. While it was a split decision, handing partial victories to the FCC and to the challengers, the clear winners are the regulatory lawyers, who will get lots of work out of clearing up the aftermath.
The FCC won on one of the most contentious issues — whether its classification of broadband access service as an information service, and not a Title II common carrier service, was proper. Thus, the fundamental structure of the FCC's Net Neutrality rules was upheld, under which internet access service providers are required to disclose their policies and practices, and the Federal Trade Commission can go after any failures to follow those disclosed policies or any other anticompetitive conduct.
On the other hand, the Court found that the FCC had not adequately addressed how its new Net Neutrality rules would affect public safety, lifeline subsidies for subscribers, and access to pole attachments, conduit and rights of way. The Court remanded those three issues, so the FCC will be addressing these particular questions in some detail in the coming months.