On January 27, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would require internet service providers (“ISPs”) to display labels disclosing certain service information, including prices, introductory rates, data allowances, broadband speeds, and network management practices.  Notably, the NPRM proposes to adopt—with some modifications—the labels developed by an advisory committee and published by the Commission in a 2016 Public Notice.

Continue Reading FCC Proposes to Require Broadband “Nutrition Labels”; Comments Due March 9

Yesterday, with vocal support from fellow Commissioner Brendan Carr, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a draft Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“DR” and “NPRM”) to promote the use of broadcast spectrum for internet services (referred to by the FCC as “Broadcast Internet”). The full, five-member Commission will vote on adoption of the DR and NPRM at the agency’s next monthly public meeting on Tuesday, June 9.

Continue Reading FCC Proposes Spectrum Leasing to Promote Use of Broadcast Spectrum for Internet Services

In a long-awaited decision, today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a January 2018 decision by the FCC to repeal most net neutrality rules and classify broadband as an unregulated “information service,” despite requiring the FCC to conduct further proceedings to justify certain aspects of its decision.  At the same time, the Court found that the FCC exceeded its authority in attempting to preempt any state net neutrality or similar laws regulating broadband.
Continue Reading Federal Appellate Court Largely Upholds FCC’s Order Repealing Most Net Neutrality Rules and De-Regulating Broadband; Holds that FCC Does Not Have Authority to Preempt All State Net Neutrality Laws

In exchange for a stay of the proceedings in both United States v. California and American Cable Association v. Becerra, California has agreed not to enforce its new net neutrality law, SB 822, pending the resolution of Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, the lawsuit challenging the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order (“Order”).  The Order had repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules.  SB 822, which we previously discussed here, was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2019, and contains the most stringent net neutrality requirements of any state.  When the law was passed on September 30, the U.S. Department of Justice immediately sued California, arguing it was preempted by the FCC’s Order.

Continue Reading Net Neutrality Update: California and the United States Agree to Stay Further Proceedings Pending Review of FCC Order

On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to apply net neutrality rules to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) operating in that state.  California is not the first state to enact legislation on net neutrality, but its bill contains the most stringent requirements yet.  The Trump Administration and multiple ISPs have sued to prevent the new law from going into effect, arguing that it conflicts with federal law.  The first hearing on the legal challenge will take place on November 14.

Continue Reading California Adopts Net Neutrality Law; Court Hearing Scheduled for Nov. 14

City leaders across the globe are predicted to spend upwards of $41 trillion by 2020 to deploy smart city technologies within their locales. From Toronto to Tokyo, cities are vying to harness the benefits of the Internet of Things (“IOT”) in order to help make their streets safer, transportation more efficient, and their environments greener. While exciting, there are a number of challenges facing cities on their quest to get smart. Resources are scarce, building the required infrastructure is expensive and obtaining the necessary consensus and cooperation amongst municipal stakeholders can be downright impossible. For vendors looking to capitalize on this momentum, learning from successful smart city projects and planning around the common conflicts that tend to arise is crucial. Below are a number of best practices gleaned from the strategies and progress of a number of cities who have found success in implementing smart city solutions.
Continue Reading Covington IoT Update: Best Practices for Outsmarting Common Pitfalls in Smart City Projects

The UK House of Lords Select Committee on Communications has recently opened a Public Consultation on ‘The Regulation of the Internet’, with submissions being accepted until Friday 11 May. The Call for Evidence can be accessed here.

The nine questions posed are relatively broad in scope, including: whether there is a need to introduce

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted along party lines to adopt a 210-page Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order (the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” or “Order”) geared towards overhauling the net neutrality framework established during the Obama administration in 2015 (the “2015 Order”).  On February 22nd, the Order was officially published in the Federal Register — kicking off the period for filing of court challenges to the FCC’s decision and for efforts by Democrats in Congress to signal dissent through passing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.

Against the backdrop of these actions at the federal level, for the past few months several states have taken matters into their own hands and begun proposing their own ways to restore the 2015 Order’s net neutrality rules within their borders.  Such efforts, even if successful at the state level, will likely be met in the courts by the Restoring Internet Freedom Order’s explicit statement that the Order preempts all “inconsistent state and local regulations.” 
Continue Reading States Battle to Resurrect Net Neutrality Rules

On 27 October 2015, the European Parliament adopted the new Telecoms Single Market legislation without a number of proposed amendments relating to net neutrality.  As a result, while the Regulation requires Internet service providers (“ISPs”) to “treat all traffic equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender or receiver, content, application or service, or terminal equipment,” it provides for the following exceptions to this principle:

  1. ISPs may offer “specialised services” (e.g., IPTV, high-definition videoconferencing and healthcare services) to the extent that this does not have an impact on the general Internet quality.
  2. ISPs may decide not to count capacity used in connection with certain sites or applications towards a consumer’s capacity usage (“zero rating”), subject to a non-discrimination obligation.
  3. ISPs may implement reasonable traffic management measures based on the “different technical quality of service requirements of specific categories of traffic.”  These measures should not be based on commercial considerations.
  4. ISPs will be able to impose traffic management measures to prevent “impending network congestion”.

The four rejected amendments related to these exceptions: network discrimination, equal treatment of all Internet traffic, the potential role of ISPs as gatekeepers, and the use of traffic management other than in connection with congestion.

Continue Reading Rules on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges Finally Adopted

By Dan Cooper and Oliver Grazebrook

On 20 June 2103, the Court of Rome in Italy ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation (the charitable organisation that operates Wikipedia) could not be liable for defamatory content posted by users on its site.  The court deemed that Wikimedia fell within the exemptions in the Italian transposition of Articles