'In the Matter of Comcast Corporation v. FCC,' Amicus Brief of James Speta, Glen Robinson, Barbara Esbin, Others, in the DC Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Barbara S. Esbin
August 10, 2009
The Progress & Freedom Foundation Amicus Brief, August 2009
In the Comcast P2P Order, the FCC's assertion of ancillary jurisdiction exceeds previously settled boundaries. Moreover, the FCC's expansive theory of its ancillary authority would grant it completely unlimited regulatory powers over information services. Due to the departure from settled law and the absence of any indication that Congress intended the FCC to regulate Internet services, the Order should be vacated.
Two issues with the FCC's justification of its regulatory authority in the Comcast P2P Order:
First, the Order dramatically expands the FCC's authority by imposing regulation on a communications service that is not adjunct to any of the services that the Communications Act identifies as within the agency's regulatory powers. In each case in which a court has affirmed the FCC's ancillary jurisdiction, the regulation was over an adjunct to a regulated service, and the FCC regulation of "adjuncts" must still be tied, with the necessary closeness, to its explicit powers over the regulated services. In contrast, there is nothing in the Act which delegates any express authority to the FCC to regulate Internet service. If anything, history indicates Congress's affirmative desire to keep such services unregulated.
Second, the theory of ancillary authority put forth in the Order would grant the agency unrestrained regulatory power to decide whether or not to take any step that affects the efficiency, price, or quality of Internet service. Such standardless discretion is contrary to the Act, as well and the foundational principle that agencies only have the authority conferred by Congress, which ensures accountability.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Comcast P2P Order, FCC, internet regulation, ancillary jurisdiction, FCC jurisdiction, Communications Act, telecommunications, national Internet policy, Comcast, network management, network deployment, broadband deployment, Vonage, 1996 Act, Computer II, Williamson Tobacco, American Library, GTE
JEL Classification: D7, D73, D78, K23, L21, L5, L51, L52, L63, L82, L86, L96, L98, O38working papers series
Date posted: October 27, 2009 ; Last revised: June 10, 2011
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.297 seconds