Full Service Network (FSN), a Pennsylvania-based reseller of telecommunications services, joined TruConnect Mobile, Sage Telecommunications LLC and Telescape Communications last Thursday in filing the eighth legal challenge against the FCC’s February 26 decision to reclassify broadband services as telecommunications services pursuant to Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. However, while petitions filed earlier this month in the D.C. Circuit and Fifth Circuit courts by wireless association CTIA, AT&T, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and other parties claim that the FCC exceeded its jurisdiction in applying Title II to broadband Internet access services, the appeal submitted to the Third Circuit Court by FSN and the joint petitioners presents the opposite point of view in charging that Title II order does not go far enough to protect broadband competition.
Unlike the first seven parties that filed legal challenges against the Title II order, FSN and the joint petitioners advised the Third Circuit that the FCC’s decision to reclassify fixed and wireless broadband Internet access services under Title II is “correct as a matter of law.” Noting that, as a consequence of Title II reclassification, broadband services are now “subject to the common carrier requirements of the Communications Act,” the joint petitioners thus declared that the application of common carrier regulation would boost the ability of competitive ISPs “to engage in competitive offerings of broadband Internet access service to consumers.” The joint petitioners took issue, however, with the FCC’s decision to invoke its forbearance powers “to declare that the common carrier requirements Congress expressly adopted in 1993 and 1996 to open local communications markets to competition are inapplicable to broadband Internet access service.” Adding that the FCC also “failed to address statutory definitions that are also applicable to broadband Internet access service and arbitrarily limited the definition of those services,” the joint petitioners claimed that the Title II order deprived them “of a stable legal framework in which to invest and offer competitive services.”
As such, the joint petitioners called on the court to “hold unlawful, vacate, enjoin, and set aside those portions” of the Title II order “that purport to grant forbearance under Section 10 of the Communications Act.” Asking the court to “provide . . . additional relief as may be appropriate,” the joint petitioners further proclaimed “that such forbearance, failure or regulation violates federal law” and is “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion under the Administrative Procedure Act.”