Next stop, some federal court of appeals?

If you were looking for something to do in your spare time for the next several weeks, we have some good news for you. The FCC has just released its “Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and Order” in the net neutrality proceeding. While early predictions had put the page count north of 330 pages, the final item weighs in at a surprisingly trim 282 pages – if you don’t count the two appendices and separate statements from each of the five Commissioners, all of which bring the total page count up to an even 400 pages. (If you had 400 pages in your office pool, congratulations!) So if you want to get ahead of the curve, you’d better get reading ASAP. We recommend that, before you start, you stock up on your stimulant of choice – it’s likely to be a long haul.

The rules adopted in the order won’t take effect until 60 days after the order makes it into the Federal Register, at the earliest. (Some of the new rules are “information collections” that will have to be run past the Office of Management and Budget for its OK first, which means that the effective date on those will likely lag behind the rest.) Also, for anybody who might be inclined to seek judicial review of this order – and, given the FCC’s 0-2 record in the D.C. Circuit so far, you’ve got to figure somebody’s going to – the 60-day period for filing your petition for review with the courts won’t start until Federal Register publication.

Note also that this is one of those proceedings that could go to any of the U.S. Courts of Appeals. If petitions for review are filed in different circuits within the first ten days of the 60-day filing window, they will be subject to a lottery to see which circuit is the lucky circuit. In order to get your preferred circuit into the drum for the drawing, within 10 days of “release” of the order (i.e., Federal Register publication) you’ll have to (a) file your petition for review and  (b) have a paper copy of the petition bearing the “received” stamp of the court delivered to the General Counsel’s office at the FCC. (Here’s a helpful guide about all this prepared by the FCC’s Office of General Counsel.)

Check back here for updates.