Companies and trade associations have banded together to submit a single petition to the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. to request a stay that will prevent the FCC’s reclassification of broadband to take effect on June 12.
The petitioners include the NCTA and ACA, representing the cable industry, along with USTA, CTIA, AT&T, CenturyLink, and WISPA.
This was the entirely expected next step after the FCC rejected similar petitions from pretty much the same group.
In the petition, which figuratively bubbles with contempt for the FCC and President Barack Obama, the group argues it will prevail on the merits of the case – that the FCC’s intention to reclassify broadband under Title II is unlawful. The FCC, of course, disagreed with that when it rejected the petition these companies and organizations submitted directly to the Commission.
The petitioners have been attempting to strengthen their case for a stay and ultimately a defeat of the FCC’s Open Internet Order (which spells out the reclassification), by claiming harms.
Last week at the INTX show, Cox Communications president Pat Esser insisted that Cox is already seeing harms. He said Cox is seeing new pole attachment fees and new taxes.
Beyond Esser asserting a connection, the company has yet to demonstrate how these costs are linked to a measure that has yet to take effect.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is taking the accusation seriously enough to have promised the crowd at INTX that the FCC intends to take up the issue of pole attachments and make sure that fees imposed are fair across the board.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who bitterly opposes Title II reclassification, has been cataloging complaints from various ISPs who say they have suspended investments in their networks because they are uncertain how much reclassification might cost them.
Since the Open Internet Order has not gone into effect, it is difficult to assess whether there is any actual harm versus fear of harm. “Uncertainty,” after all, includes anything from new costs to no new costs at all.
Pai and others argue there will be harms to consumers, in the form of costs to service providers that will be passed along to consumers.
The majority of the FCC Commissioners have been claiming for months that the costs – if any, will not be burdensome. Furthermore, millions of consumers wrote the FCC urging it to go forward with reclassification.
The petitioners argue that the new classification will make it harder for companies to collect customer data and use it for marketing.
According to the petition, AT&T estimates it “would lose up to $400 million in revenues (plus $13 million in implementation costs) if it ceased existing marketing that uses broadband-related customer proprietary network information in ways that might require customer consent while implementing consent mechanisms based on its guess as to content of future FCC rules.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations