In Mozilla v. FCC, the Court largely upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order, but remanded several issues for the agency to reconsider. On April 20, 2020, Next Century Cities (NCC) filed comments explaining why the FCC’s reclassification of broadband services under Title I could impact the stability of Lifeline. The Lifeline program, designed to be an aid in times of need and disaster relief, is an important tool for local officials who are working to ensure that low-income residents can get online.
On May 18, 2020, NCC followed-up with reply comments reiterating the importance of Lifeline. These comments also explained why the agency’s decision to reclassify broadband internet access service (BIAS) as an “information service” would remove BIAS-only providers from the statutory scheme that governs pole attachments. As stated in the filing, “current pole attachment rules could render broadband-only providers that have the resources to deploy to unserved or underserved areas unable to do so at a time when families and businesses are relying on the FCC to promote policies that will make it easier for them to connect.”
Next Century Cities will continue to work with the Commission to develop policies that accelerate broadband deployment to areas in need.