FCC denies requests to delay net neutrality rules


The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has denied the requests of several broadband providers and trade groups asking the agency to delay its net neutrality rules.

The FCC, late Friday, denied petitions for a stay of its net neutrality rules from Daniel Berninger, founder of the nonprofit Voice Communication Exchange Committee, the American Cable Association, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, USTelecom, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, AT&T and CenturyLink.

Berninger asked the FCC to delay its entire net neutrality order, approved in February, while the trade groups and broadband providers sought a delay in the portion of the order reclassifying broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a regulated common carrier.

The groups had asked the FCC to delay the rules from going into effect while courts deal with seven lawsuits challenging the regulations.

Public Knowledge, a digital rights groups, praised the FCC for denying the request. Reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act would enable the FCC to enforce several consumer protections, the group said.

“The argument of the cable and telephone companies hinged on the argument that respecting user privacy and requiring disability access—as required under Title II—would be too great a burden,” Harold Feld, the group’s senior vice president, said by email. “The cable and telephone companies will now go to [court] to argue that they will suffer ‘irreparable harm’ from all this privacy protection and the other consumer protections in Title II.”

The Telecommunications Industry Association, a trade group for the manufacturers and suppliers of broadband networks, said it was disappointed with the decision. The FCC refused “a fair and reasonable request to delay the imposition of sweeping new regulations of the Internet,” the group said in a statement.

The net neutrality rules will hinder deployment of broadband, the group added.

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