Net Neutrality at the FCC: A Critique of the Legal Reasoning of its Net Neutrality Order

By Michael C. Sloan

An earlier Davis Wright Tremaine advisory described the requirements of the Federal Communications Commission’s new “net neutrality” rules—transparency, no blocking, and no unreasonable discrimination. It also noted that the legal analysis in the Net Neutrality Order (NNO) “may stretch the FCC’s logic and authority beyond the breaking point.” This advisory expands on that observation. It also addresses the business, legal, and political context in which the rules were issued.

Net neutrality prior to the NNO

The rules are based on the FCC’s determination that regulation is necessary to assure the continued growth and development of the Internet. That is a departure from previous FCC administrations, for whom, with a few exceptions, “Hands off the Internet” was not just a slogan, but a policy.

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About Joe Wallin

Joe Wallin focuses on emerging, high growth, and startup companies. Joe frequently represents companies in angel and venture financings, mergers and acquisitions, and other significant business transactions. Joe also represents investors in U.S. businesses, and provides general counsel services for companies from startup to post-public.
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