July 08, 2014

Jenner & Block Partner Samuel L. Feder participated in a roundtable discussion in Washington, DC, on June 24, 2014, examining the boundaries of the Federal Communications Commission’s jurisdiction over broadband services.  The discussion followed a keynote address by FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly. 

Following a spate of recent legal decisions, the jurisdictional issue was timely as the FCC moves forward with new attempts to draft legally sustainable Open Internet rules.  Communications Daily covered the discussion, quoting Sam on the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Verizon v. FCC  interpreting Section 706 of the Communications Act.  “It gives the FCC authority to do things that it couldn’t otherwise do under Title II or elsewhere,” he said.  “But the prohibitions in Title II still apply, “ he said, adding, “Treating common carriers more restrictively would violate some of the prohibitions.”

Sam was also quoted in Telecom Regulation Daily as saying that the court’s decision means that the FCC could intervene if an edge provider – such as Netflix, Inc. – refused to deliver its content to a particular Internet service.

In further coverage of the event, BroadbandBreakfast.com quoted Sam as saying that as long as the Internet is competitive, the market will discipline it into openness.

A former FCC General Counsel, Sam chairs Jenner & Block’s Communications Practice.  He represents clients on many significant communications issues including net neutrality, broadband classification, universal service and intercarrier compensation.