FCC's Open Internet Order Challenged in 3rd Circuit

Title II Fans Say FCC Did Not Go Far Enough

Add Full Service Network, TruConnect Mobile, Sage Telecommunications, and Telescape Telecommunications--collectively they are filing one petition--to those challenging the FCC's new network neutrality order.

That makes an even eight court challenges to the rules, but the latest--dated April 23--is important for where it is filed--the Third Circuit Full Service is based in Pennsylvania, which is in the Third circuit.

Currently among those eight court challenges are filings in the D.C. circuit, where deal critics feels they have the best chance since that is the court that has twice rejected FCC net neutrality efforts --  one in the Fifth, and now the Third -- where regulation fans tend to file (most notably, the court that stayed the FCC's deregulatory media ownership rules more than a decade ago).

Full Service et. al are not opposed to Title II. In fact, they argue that the FCC did not go far enough, and should have extended the reclassification to mandatory access. It is not a fan of Sec. 706 authority, however, arguing that it's "illegal interpretation" gives the FCC unbounded authority to regulate the advanced telecommunications, or not relegate them, on a whim.

Based on two earlier filings, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which conducts a lottery when challenges are filed in more than one circuit, chose the D.C. Circuit. But there could be a second lottery if those first suits are determined to have been premature, which even the filers--USTelecom, Alamo--concede was likely the case.

To be in the lottery, petitions to the various courts had to have been delivered to the FCC's General Counsel's office by 5:30, April 23. Then, if the FCC decides there should be a second lottery, it will be held early next week. The commission could get pushback from those who want it to stay in D.C. IF the FCC does not seek a second lottery, fans of other circuits could also push back.

In addition to USTelecom and Alamo, suits have been filed by AT&T, CenturyLink, American Cable Association, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, CTIA-The Wireless Association, and Full Service et. al.