WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, TechFreedom filed reply comments with the FCC regarding the Mozilla court’s narrow remand of discrete issues in the Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO), in the latest round of the net neutrality debate. As in the comments we filed a month ago, TechFreedom explained why the FCC will have little difficulty in addressing the three issues remanded to the FCC: public safety, the Lifeline program, and pole attachments.
TechFreedom’s General Counsel James Dunstan issued the following statement:
As we predicted, many of the comments in the “refresh” of this docket run far afield of the narrow issues remanded by the Mozilla court. The court affirmed that the FCC had legal authority to reclassify BIAS service as a Title I information service, as it was prior to 2015, and no amount of complaining can change what the Mozilla court said — or the law of the case.
As to public safety users, there is significant evidence to demonstrate that a light-touch regulatory regime better spurs private investment in broadband deployment overall, which ultimately benefits the public safety community. This is sufficient for the FCC to meet the legal standard on remand. Arguments that BIAS is a critical component of public safety operations misread the statute. The “comprehensive end-to-end emergency communications infrastructure” is the country’s 911, EAS, and WEA systems, not BIAS.
Finally, the specific concerns raised by public safety operators concerning blocking and throttling are red herrings: the service plans they discuss were never BIAS in the first place. More critically, the First Amendment significantly limited what could have been categorized as BIAS under the 2015 Order. Only services that were offered to the mass market and involved no “editorial intervention” (which would include clearly disclosed blocking, throttling and prioritization) could have been regulated under Title II. Any provider could have opted-out of Title II regulation by adequately informing the public that it was offering a curated or edited service. We are confident that the FCC will be able to issue a Further Report and Order that will be sustained in the inevitable appeal. And in the meantime, we hope Congress will finally get its act together and craft legislation that codifies the core concepts of net neutrality agreed to by all sides for at least a decade.
- Our comments (“Why the 2018 RIFO Did Not Affect Public Safety, Lifeline or Pole Attachments”), and accompanying press release and Twitter thread
- Our petition for certiorari and other major filings in this case
- Our amicus brief in pending litigation over the FCC’s 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order
- Tech Policy Podcast #172: The Future of Internet Regulation (w/ FCC Chairman Ajit Pai)
- Our statement on the need for a legislative compromise over net neutrality
- Our statement on the D.C. Circuit’s denial of rehearing.
- Our statement on our appeal over the DC Circuit’s decision upholding Title II reclassification
- A summary of our opening brief challenging the FCC’s order
- Our statement on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Upholding FCC’s Refusal of Broad Internet Powers