CPUC Asks Court to Reconsider FCC’s Maintenance of Net Neutrality Repeal

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) filed a petition for review, asking the D.C. Circuit to review the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) final rule to maintain its repeal of net neutrality, entitled “Restoring Internet Freedom; Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers; Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization.”

In the Federal Register, the FCC noted that it issued this final rule after the D.C. Circuit asked it to “assess the effects of the Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order on public safety, pole attachments, and the statutory basis for broadband internet access service’s inclusion in the universal service Lifeline program.” The original FCC order controversially rolled back net neutrality in favor of more light-touch regulation of broadband internet access service. In the new Jan. 7, 2021 rule, the FCC maintains its repeal of net neutrality. The Commission claimed that in Mozilla Fox v. FCC, the D.C. Circuit “upheld the vast majority” of the FCC’s decision, but remanded for further Commission consideration on public safety and other issues.

According to the filing, the CPUC has sought for the D.C. Circuit to determine that the final rule is “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act,…violates federal law, including, but not limited to, the Constitution, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and FCC regulations promulgated thereunder; conflicts with the notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements of 5 U.S.C. § 553; and is otherwise contrary to law.”

The CPUC has sought for the court to hold the order as unlawful and to vacate, enjoin, and set aside the order, as well as other relief. The CPUC is represented by its own counsel.

The FCC’s final rule is set to take effect on Feb. 8, 2021.