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Bennett Ross Weighs In on FCC’s Plan to Reverse 2015 Net Neutrality Rules

Law360
May 10, 2017

Bennett L. Ross, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Telephony & Information Technology Practice was quoted in a May 5 Law360 article about the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan to roll back net neutrality rules put in place during the prior Administration. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has slated a May 18 vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking to consider whether to reclassify broadband as a Title I information service rather than a Title II telecommunications service. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn—who voted for the 2015 Open Internet Order reclassifying broadband as a Title II telecommunications service has raised concerns that Chairman Pai’s proposal may undermine the FCC’s legal authority to use universal service funds intended to expand broadband to underserved areas.

The FCC had previously decided that universal service funds could be used for broadband, well before the reclassification under Title II, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. “I think the same things that the Chairman’s talking about now were the same things that people were talking about when broadband was an information service,” Mr. Ross said. “This is not going to be plowing new ground.”