Following its reclassification of Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS) as an “information service” and the elimination of the consumer protection rules aimed at preserving net neutrality principles, the Federal Communications Commission also classified Simple Messaging Services (SMS, or text messages) as an information service. Not only was this classification decision unnecessary, it also followed the same faulty reasoning and legal interpretation the Commission used in its BIAS reclassification. We challenged the Commission’s reclassification of BIAS in 2018, in part, because its interpretation of the definition of “information service” effectively read another service type, telecommunication service, out of existence. Classification of services as telecommunication services is a key aspect of the FCC’s authority to regulate the providers of those services, so an interpretation that eliminates this possibility would severely limit the FCC’s ability to protect consumers.
For the same reasons, we joined Public Knowledge and others in asking the Commission to reconsider its decision to classify SMS as an information service. This Petition for Reconsideration is a necessary step in asking the FCC to correct its flawed decision and is also required for any future legal challenge to the classification order. CDT will continue to push back on the FCC’s current efforts to eliminate its own authority to protect consumers and looks forward to the Commission’s return to its mandate to act in the public interest.