On May 5, 2014, Mozilla, the nonprofit corporation that made the Firefox browsing platform, filed a Petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would in part resolve the upcoming Net Neutrality rulemaking. Carefully timed to be filed ten days before the FCC considers the tentative rules Chairman Tom Wheeler felt compelled to defend in writing, the Petition asks the FCC to classify and regulate “remote delivery service” as telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. We explained the significance of the Title II “common carrier” classification in this prior client alert.

Mozilla defines “remote delivery service” as the transmission service that runs between a broadband subscriber and remote, or edge, hosts with whom subscribers wish to communicate. These remote hosts are, according to Mozilla, also end users of the broadband provider and should be protected as such. Classifying “remote delivery service” as Title II common carriage will authorize the FCC to impose Net Neutrality rules in the manner set forth by the DC Circuit in its Verizon decision.

Opponents of Net Neutrality rules will see the Mozilla Petition as a direct challenge to the the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that the FCC will vote on May 15, 2014. Early drafts of the NPRM did not include a Title II decision, but recent reports are that the option has been added to the more recent version. The Petition now virtually ensures that Title II will be in the Net Neutrality conversation.

FCC rules provide that petitions such as these will be put out for public comment with specified deadlines. Being filed so closely in advance of the NPRM vote, the Mozilla Petition could be added into the NPRM comment cycle or could stand alone as a separate proceeding. We will likely know more in the next few days as the NPRM text is finalized.