Verizon Appeals FCC Net Neutrality Rules in DC Circuit

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 03, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Verizon Communications is reviving its challenge to the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) net neutrality rules with an appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The circuit court dismissed Verizon's lawsuit to block the rules in April, finding that Verizon filed prematurely because the FCC had not published the rules in the Federal Register, reports The Tech Journal. The issue is now ripe because the FCC officially published the rule last Friday; the rules are set to take effect on November 20.

The new regulations bar wireline broadband providers from "unreasonable discrimination" against Web traffic, and give the FCC authority to initiate or resolve disputes regarding how internet service providers manage their networks, reports PC Magazine. The regulations will put an end to paid prioritization on the Internet.

Verizon's senior vice president and deputy general counsel, Michael Glover, wants the court to decide if the FCC has the authority to place such restrictions on the Internet. "We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority to impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services and on the Internet itself. We believe this assertion of authority ... will create uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers," Glover said in a statement.

Free Press, a media reform advocacy group, filed its own challenge to the FCC net neutrality rules in the First Circuit Court of Appeals last week. Free Press argues that the rules treat broadband and wireline providers differently, a distinction Free Press calls arbitrary and capricious.

"The final rules ... fail to protect wireless users from discrimination, and they let mobile providers block innovative applications with impunity," Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said in a statement.

Should the FCC prepare for a Supreme Court net neutrality showdown? Depending on how the First and D.C. Circuits rule in these cases, this issue could end up before the High Court.

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