Today, NCTA filed a Petition for Review of the FCC’s February 26, 2015 order which reclassified broadband Internet service as a public utility, or telecommunications service, under Title II of the Communications Act. We filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
So why are we appealing? It has nothing to do with net neutrality. Indeed, for the better part of two decades our companies have invested billions of dollars into building, maintaining, and improving an open Internet experience for our customers. Our industry has supported the FCC’s original open Internet principles and the 2010 order, which we did not appeal. And we have continued to live by the Open Internet rules even after the courts rejected them.
Unfortunately, the FCC’s recent action goes well beyond restoring enforceable rules, and contrary to Congress’ direction, forces an outdated regulatory model on today’s modern Internet. Among the harms, Title II could lead to the imposition of rate regulation, higher taxes and fees, increased cost of broadband deployment and the ability for government to set the terms and conditions of business relationships. The enormous breadth and ambiguity of the FCC’s new-found power will create uncertainty and conflict for years to come; depressing investment in new and better networks, and chilling development of new technologies, apps and services. Given the sweeping implications for the entire Internet, we believe the Commission’s action must be reviewed by the courts.
We do not relish the prospect of costly litigation or lingering business uncertainty. And for that reason, we are encouraged by the recent statements made by several Congressional leaders acknowledging the constructive role that Congress can play in adopting permanent, enforceable net neutrality rules without the harmful consequences that Title II brings. But regrettably, until that time, it will fall to the courts to protect consumers from the misguided action of the FCC.