Third Brown Bag of the Semester – September 19, 2014

 

Barbara Cherry, Professor, Julian Mailland, Assistant Professor, and Matt Pierce, Lecturer, Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University

IU Telecom goes to Washington: Influencing Federal Policy-making on Network Neutrality

Given the decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Verizon v. FCC  in January 2014, the FCC now faces the legal challenge of how to impose sustainable legal obligations for network openness on broadband Internet access service providers to address concerns underlying the vacated no blocking and no unreasonable discrimination rules. The FCC established a proceeding, the Open Internet Access NPRM, in May 2014, to consider whether it should seek to create obligations under section 706 authority in conjunction with Title I jurisdiction or reclassification under Title II.

On Sept. 12, 2014, Barbara Cherry, Julien Mailland, and Matt Pierce of the Department of Telecommunications traveled to Washington, D.C. to present research and discuss Indiana state legislative activities in ex parte meetings with FCC staff members of both Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Rosenwercel with regard to the Open Internet Access NPRM.  On Sept. 13, Barbara and Julien also presented their research paper, Toward Sustainable Network-Openness Obligations on Broadband in the U.S.: Surviving Providers’ First Amendment Challenges, at the 42nd Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy, held in Arlington, Virginia.  This paper examines anticipated legal challenges to future FCC rules to impose network openness obligations on broadband Internet access services providers pursuant to the Open Internet Access NPRM, comparing the likely outcomes if the FCC’s authority is based on the exercise of authority under Title II or under section 706 in conjunction with Title I.  The analysis provides litigation advice for how the FCC should exercise its authority given evaluation of differential legal uncertainties arising from these two approaches.

For this week’s T600, Barbara, Julien and Matt discuss not only the substance of the research and Indiana legislative activities presented in Washington, D.C., but also the complex web of policy-making processes and politics within which these presentations are being made within the network neutrality debate.  They will reveal the policy battle that is raging largely outside of public view and how the issues being debated are misunderstood by the media reporting on that battle. We draw practical lessons on how to bridge theory and practice.

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