GTDT: What were the key developments in communications and media regulation in your jurisdiction last year?
Debra McGuire Mercer & Audrey Todd Borisov: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the government agency responsible for communications and media regulation pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act). The most significant legal development this year was the FCC’s adoption of the Open Internet Order on 26 February 2015, in which the FCC reclassified fixed and mobile broadband internet access as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act, which is applicable to common carriers. However, the FCC determined that it would take a ‘light touch’ in applying Title II and would forbear from enforcing many of the traditional Title II regulations. In the order, the FCC specifically banned the following practices deemed to be harmful to a transparent and open internet: (i) blocking of legal content; (ii) impairment (throttling) of internet traffic based on content; and (iii) fav0uring certain internet traffic in exchange for consideration (paid prioritisation). The newly adopted rules went into effect on 12 June 2015, although not without legal challenge.
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(Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. This article was first published in Getting the Deal Through: Market Intelligence (Volume 2, Issue 4) – Telecoms & Media, (published in August 2015; Panel Leader: Laurent Garzaniti, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP) For further information please visit www.gettingthedealthrough.com.)