The Power & Communications Contractors Association (PCCA), along with the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) and the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), has filed a Petition for Review against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its Prevention and Elimination of Digital Discrimination Order. This lawsuit joins several others challenging the FCC’s rule, which seeks to ensure “historically unserved and underserved communities throughout the nation have equal opportunity to receive high-speed broadband service comparable to that received by others." While intended to expand access to high-speed internet, this rule will only discourage businesses from participating in any federal initiative to close the digital divide.

The FCC assumes, via the Order, unprecedented authority to regulate the broadband internet economy. Critical for WIA’s and PCCA’s members, the Order includes an overly broad, unrealistic, and unreasonable definition of “covered entities,” which includes not only broadband providers, but contractors retained by broadband providers and entities maintaining and upgrading network infrastructure, among others,” the petition states.  

In granting itself this new authority, the FCC has presented two major issues to our industry: 

Under this new standard companies could face lawsuits if our services unintentionally result in unequal access among different groups. These legal challenges will impact our operational and strategic decisions, especially in expanding services to underserved areas due to the heightened risk of legal repercussions.

Congress never authorized the FCC to regulate these industries or entities. So, to all the businesses and individuals that will be subject to FCC regulation for the first time ever, welcome, I hope you have good lawyers,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a statement opposing the order.  

Second, the FCC's highly criticized rule will extend its regulatory reach over our industry. This not only includes technical aspects like network infrastructure, reliability, upgrades, and maintenance, but also customer-focused elements such as service speeds, data caps, pricing, and terms for contract renewal and service termination. Moreover, the FCC would now hold regulatory power over our business practices, like the use of mandatory arbitration clauses, customer service standards, and marketing strategies. 

PCCA is proud to join the Wireless Infrastructure Association, the National Association of Tower Erectors, and all others in legal opposition to this problematic rule, and together we “seek review of the Order on the grounds that it exceeds the FCC’s statutory authority; is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act, and is otherwise contrary to law.”