The Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) on the FCC website has been working overtime in the last few months, so we decided this would be a good time to “Roundup” the various petitions that are open for comment regarding Internet rules, give a brief rundown of the timeline, and let you know how you can make your voice heard. There are a couple of key deadlines this week, so make sure to get your comments in! Below is a quick summary of some of the petitions and filings you should be aware of, their deadlines, and next steps.
Net Neutrality (14-28)
After extending the deadline for Initial Comments on Net Neutrality, the FCC received more than a million comments asking them to preserve the open Internet. ILSR submitted its petition July 18, focusing on the issue of paid prioritization, reclassification, and regulation of content. The FCC also extended the deadline for reply comments to September 15.
The commission is expected to establish net neutrality rules by the end of 2014.
Local Authority on Municipal Networks
Wilson, North Carolina (14-115) and Chattanooga, TN (14-116) filed petitions with the FCC July 24th asking them to remove restrictions on their ability to expand and offer services to nearby communities. On July 28th, the FCC opened a public comment calendar for the request.
ILSR stands firm in its support of these communities, and others that have built their own networks. We are not alone. The US Conference of Mayors, several communities, the American Public Power Association, a coalition from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the National League of Cities, and the National Association of Counties all joined together to publicly support restoring local authority to communities targeted by state laws to prevent competition.
Initial comments are due August 29th, Reply Comments are due September 29th.
Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger
Comcast announced it would by Time Warner Cable Inc. in March. The merger (14-57) would give one company enormous power over our nation’s media and communications infrastructure. ILSR signed on to a letter to Chairman Wheeler in April.
You must file your complaint by Monday, August 25 to be considered. Responses to comments are due September 23rd. Replies to those responses are due October 8.
AT&T/DirecTV Merger (14-90)
AT&T and DirecTV announced their intentions to merge in May. The FCC opened proceeding 14-90 June 11. Although some organizations, including ILSR have asked for an extension for comments, the current deadline for petitions is Sept. 16. Replies can be filed until October 16, and responses to those are due by November 5.
Notice of Inquiry on Broadband Progress
And finally, the FCC opened a Notice of Inquiry on Broadband Progress August 5. The Inquiry (14-126) kicks off the FCC’s tenth “State of the Internet” report, in which they examine whether “advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.”
The deadline for the inquiry is September 4, the reply comment deadline is September 19.