CTIA argues that legally, wireless broadband is exempt from Title II net neutrality rules

CTIA is arguing that even if the FCC chose to reclassify broadband as a common carrier service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act as part of an effort to craft new net neutrality regulations, mobile broadband would be legally exempt from such Title II rules.

On Dec. 18, CTIA representatives met with FCC officials, including Roger Sherman, chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to discuss a new white paper CTIA put together on the legal issues surrounding net neutrality. CTIA argues Section 332 of the Telecommunications Act expressly forbids the FCC from subjecting services that are not "Commercial Mobile Radio Services," or CMRS, "or the functional equivalent thereof" to common carrier mandates under Title II.

CTIA argues that mobile broadband is not CMRS, and the FCC "may not reverse itself and declare otherwise." Likewise, the trade group argues, mobile broadband is not the "functional equivalent" of CMRS and is legally known as a "Private Mobile Radio Service" and is immune from common carrier regulation.

Net neutrality proponents have been urging the FCC to reclassify broadband under Title II in order to give the commission more legal authority to enact net neutrality regulations and prohibit blocking or slowing down of web content based on the type of content. Both CTIA and wireless carriers have repeatedly argued that mobile broadband, especially because of spectrum constraints, is inherently different than wired broadband and should not be covered by new net neutrality regulations. Now, CTIA is arguing that even if the FCC takes the Title II route, mobile should be legally exempt from such regulations. White Paper

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