Citation Edit

Computer & Commc'ns Indus. Ass’n v. Federal Commc’ns Comm’n, 693 F.2d 198 (D.C. Cir. 1982) (full-text).

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

The appellate court considered a challenge to the FCC’s landmark 1980 Computer II Order, in which the Commission set forth regulatory ground rules for common carriers that provided so-called enhanced services, i.e., precursors to modern information services like cable Internet.[1] The petitioners argued that two aspects of the Computer II Order exceeded the Commission’s ancillary authority. First, the Commission had ruled that AT&T, then the monopoly telephone provider throughout most of the nation, could offer enhanced services only through a separate subsidiary.[2]

Second, the Commission had mandated that all common carriers unbundle charges for “customer premises equipment” (CPE) — i.e., telephones, computer terminals, and other similar devices — from their regulated tariffs.[3]

The appellate court sustained both requirements. The court indicated that U.S. v. Southwestern Cable “limited the Commission’s jurisdiction to that which is reasonably ancillary to the effective performance of the Commission’s various responsibilities,” and that “[o]ne of those responsibilities is to assure a nationwide system of wire communications services at reasonable prices.”[4]

References Edit

  1. See In re Amendment of §64.702 of the Comm’n’s Rules and Regulations (Second Computer Inquiry), 77 F.C.C.2d 384, 385-89, ¶¶1-13 (1980).
  2. 693 F.2d at 205.
  3. Id.
  4. Id. at 213 (internal quotation marks omitted).