Broadband companies sue over new Net neutrality rules

25 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

First Court Challenges Filed Against FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules.

The FCC’s net neutrality rules passed on a narrow 3-2 vote last month, but supporters and opponents were unanimous in their prediction of what was likely to happen next: a court challenge.

The first two legal actions against the FCC’s Open Internet plan were filed Monday by a telecommunications association and a Texas broadband service. The US Telecom Association, which represents a number of large broadband providers, filed a suit in the appeals court, fifth circuit, in Washington, D.C. Alamo Broadband, based in San Antonio, Texas, reportedly filed its suit in New Orleans. “As we have said throughout this debate,” said USTelecom president Walter McCormick in a statement, “our member companies conduct their business in conformance with the open Internet principles, and support their enactment into law. Telecom Association is light on detail and runs barely three pages, in which it alleges the new rules violate communications law, the Constitution and FCC procedure.

USTelecom, representing major Internet providers, contends that the FCC’s action was “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion,” and that it violated federal law. However, we also support a regulatory approach that relies upon Section 706 authority of the Communications Act, and we do not believe the Federal Communications Commission’s move to utility-style regulation invoking Title II authority is legally sustainable.” “The focus of our legal appeal,” added USTelecom senior vp Jon Banks, “will be on the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet access service as a public utility service after a decade of amazing innovation and investment under the FCC’s previous light-touch approach.

While the telecom industry has made clear it will fight the rules in court, action had been expected only after they are published in the Federal Register, which has yet to occur. The FCC’s rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking or throttling content, or from accepting payment to deliver traffic to subscribers at a faster speed. In a move to establish legal footing to impose the rules, the FCC reclassified the Internet as a Title II telecommunications service, a move that drew an outcry from major cable and telecom firms.

These two are the first of an expected slew of legal challenges to the controversial FCC decision passed by a three to two vote (along party lines) Feb. 26. But for many consumers, it means delays in investment and broadband upgrades.” Separately, the state of Tennessee also sued the FCC over its decision at the same Feb. 26 meeting to overrule state law and allow one city to run a municipal Internet service.

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