Now that the FCC is the subject of several lawsuits, and its leader, Chairman Tom Wheeler, was dragged in front of Congress repeatedly to answer the same battery of inanity, it’s worth checking in to see how the agency is feeling. Is it confident that its recent vote to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act will hold?
Yes, unsurprisingly. Recently, Wheeler gave a speech at Ohio State University, laying out his larger philosophy regarding the open Internet. His second to last paragraph is worth reading:
One final prediction: the FCC’s new rules will be upheld by the courts. The DC Circuit sent the previous Open Internet Order back to us and basically said, “You’re trying to impose common carrier-like regulation without stepping up and saying, ‘these are common carriers.’” We have addressed that issue, which is the underlying issue in all of the debates we’ve had so far. That gives me great confidence going forward that we will prevail.
That confidence isn’t itself too newsworthy — why would the FCC pass something that it can’t defend? But at the same time, Wheeler echoes one of his top lawyers, Gigi Sohn, who first extolled the use of Title II in the agency’s plan, among other legal tools, in an interview with TechCrunch:
‘We like to say it’s the belt, the belt and the suspenders. The critical thing is we are reclassifying broadband Internet access as a Title II service. That is the biggest thing, and that allows us to move forward with the strongest possible authority. We also have authority through Section 706 and Title III for mobile. So basically we’re using all of our authority. We’re not letting any of it languish’.