The FCC has released a Public Notice establishing a new docket called Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet within which the Commission will consider how to re-write the Net Neutrality Rules in a way that is consistent with federal law and the January 2014 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Circuit Court), which vacated key Net Neutrality Rules. The Circuit Court upheld the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband Internet access and upheld the transparency rule, which requires ISPs to disclose how they manage Internet traffic. However, the court vacated the blocking and antidiscrimination rules, finding the Commission had impermissibly applied common carrier regulations to non-common carriers. The Public Notice seeks comment on the issues raised in the Circuit Court decision and what actions the Commission should take to promulgate new Net Neutrality Rules.
In a separate statement, Chairman Tom Wheeler urges fellow Commissioners to ensure that edge providers are not unfairly blocked from reaching consumers and ensure that consumers are able to access lawful content and services of their choosing. Chairman Wheeler also points out that reclassifying Internet access service as a telecommunications service, subject to Title II regulation, remains a possibility. Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly expressed concern over the announcement that the Commission is considering new ways to regulate the Internet, which they believe should not be subject to regulation.