On January 14, 2014, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit largely struck down the December 2010 Open Internet Order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would require the owners of the nation’s broadband infrastructure — companies like Comcast and Verizon — to administer their networks in a manner that does not hinder consumers’ choice of Internet content. This concept is also known as “net neutrality.” The opinion is available here (Verizon v. FCC, No. 11-1355).
On January 9, 2014, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler released a blog post indicating that he intends to prod smaller wireless carriers and over-the-top (OTT) texting services to provide their customers text-to-911 services by no later than the end of this year. Chairman Wheeler also circulated a draft policy statement and further notice of proposed rulemaking on this topic that the FCC commissioners will consider at the FCC’s next open meeting scheduled for January 30, 2014.
On January 8, 2014, the House Energy & Commerce Committee released a four-page white paper (available here) titled “Modernizing the Communications Act.” The white paper is the first in an expected series and stems from the Committee’s announcement in December 2013 that it will wholly revamp communications law in a comprehensive bill in 2015. Arent Fox's client alert about that announcement is available here.
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