Table of Contents - October 11, 2019

D.C. Circuit Upholds Most of FCC's RIF Order, Vacates State Preemption

Over the partial dissent of Senior Circuit Judge Stephen F. Williams, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Oct. 1 upheld the FCC's 2017 reclassification of broadband Internet access service as an information service subject to Title I of the Communications Act and its reclassification of mobile broadband service as a private mobile service, as well as most of the rest of FCC's 2017 restoring Internet freedom order (RIF).

However, the court vacated the provision of the RIF order that preempted states from adopting rules repealed in the RIF order, rules that the FCC "decided to refrain from imposing" in the RIF order, or that are "more stringent" than the rules in the RIF order. Judge Williams dissented from this aspect of the majority's decision.

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Both Sides Find Good News, Reasons to Persevere in Ruling

The long-awaited ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the FCC's 2017 restoring Internet freedom (RIF) order (see separate story) was complex enough for both sides to find something to cheer about - and to leave some doubt as to what it will mean for the fate of any state efforts to pass their own net neutrality laws, including the California law currently facing a challenge from the U.S. Department of Justice and broadband Internet service providers.

The decision also provided a rallying point for those who want to see Congress resolve the issue.

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