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Net Neutrality Update

By Barry Skidelsky

On January 4, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the formal text of its "Restoring Internet Freedom" Order, previously approved by a 3 to 2 vote along political party lines on December 14, 2017 (http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2018/db0105/FCC-17-166A1.pdf). The 524 page tome (supplemented by statements from each of the FCC Commissioners) spells out details relating to the expected roll-back of the prior administration's net neutrality rules and policies, and it includes language obviously intended to defend against likely challenges.

In short, the FCC re-classified all broadband internet access services (BIAS) as "information" services, rather than as more heavily regulated "telecommunications" services -- regardless of whether service providers own or lease their facilities, and regardless of what technology platforms are employed, including without limit, wired (such as DSL, cable and fiber), fixed and mobile wireless (using licensed or unlicensed spectrum), and satellite services.

This de- or re- regulatory change affects, inter alia, consumers and those in entertainment who do not own or control digital distribution channels. Many fear that it enhances both the incentive and ability of vertically integrated companies to raise prices or unfairly compete.

As my recent EASL Journal article and blog post elaborate, given the absence of relevant federal legislative action, administrative and judicial challenges are likely to be made by various parties and amici -- including technology titans, such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (collectively, FANG), New York and other state attorney generals, and ad hoc coalitions that may be organized to address common concerns.

For more information, please contact me directly.

Barry Skidelsky is an attorney, consultant, arbitrator and mediator, who provides diverse legal and business services nationwide, focused on individuals and entities directly or indirectly involved with entertainment, media, technology and telecommunications (including inter alia lenders, investors, other lawyers and law firms). Currently co-chair of EASL's Television & Radio Committee and previous chair of the NY Chapter of the Federal Communications Bar Association (whose members' practices in part involve work before the FCC in Washington DC), Barry's background also includes being a broadcaster, bankruptcy trustee and in-house General Counsel. Contact Barry at bskidelsky@mindspring.com or 212-832-4800.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 8, 2018 5:17 PM.

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