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Andrew McBride Quoted in Coverage of Challenge to FCC Net Neutrality Rules

September 17, 2015

Andrew G. McBride, chair of Wiley Rein’s Communications Appellate & Litigation Practice, was quoted by Law360 in an article about court challenges to net neutrality rules adopted this year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Mr. McBride, along with Wiley Rein partners Eve Klindera Reed and Brett A. Shumate, represents a Texas broadband provider that is among the plaintiffs appealing the rules before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in U.S. Telecom Association v. Federal Communications Commission, et al.

In a September 15 filing, the FCC asked the D.C. Circuit to reject the challenges to its Open Internet Order. The commission said it was within its authority to reclassify broadband as telecommunications service subject to more intense regulations, according to the article.

In an interview with Law360, Mr. McBride called the FCC’s approach “heavy-handed” and said competition in the broadband industry acts as its own check against abusive practices by carriers. “You have so many choices,” he said. “The idea that these are monopolists is I think really far-fetched.”

The FCC, in its brief, also argued against the contention of Wiley Rein’s client that the Open Internet Order violates the First Amendment. Mr. McBride said the FCC brief’s 12-page focus on the First Amendment is an indication that the FCC is worried about the First Amendment issue. He added that broadband providers seeking to use paid prioritization should be regulated more like traditional media, rather than as telecommunications carriers.

“Isn’t paid priority really the equivalent of getting a larger ad in a magazine or a newspaper for more money?” Mr. McBride said. “The commission argues basically that they’re a dumb pipe, and that’s a circular argument because the commission is making them a dumb pipe.”

To read the article, click here.