This week was set off by a two-fold lawsuit filed by USTelecom and Alamo Broadband against U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s proposed law to change the status of broadband providers. This might just be the beginning of a string of lawsuits filed on the same issue by Internet companies.
Back in February, the FCC approved net neutrality rules that would change the Internet traffic. The proposal is set to rename broadband as a regulated public utility, which will stop Internet providers from being able to block or supply traffic prioritization for companies and websites that pay for it.
Both wireless and wireline Internet services are the aim of the new rules, with the intention of regulating them just like traditional telephone companies. This would mean that Internet providers will have to offer reasonable services. Some small broadband services will be granted a temporary spare from the new rules.
Even though the FCC order is not yet official, USTelecom (United States Telecom Association) has already filed the review petition, proving extra-caution in case the order becomes final after its initial release on March 12. USTelecom gave this statement during a filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday.
The FCC hasn’t yet posted its new order in the Federal Register, the official journal, but the agency said that the new rules will become effective 60 days after it appears in the publication. USTelecom, however, had anticipated a situation where the court should decide to shorten that period to 10 days after publication, so it already requested a review petition, ahead of time.
USTelecom is a trade body that includes broadband giants such as AT&T and Verizon Communications, and they said the FCC’s order should be classified as an abuse of discretion, and this is the basis of their review request. Walter McCormick, president of USTelecom, said that regulating broadband as a utility is not acceptable in a courtroom, not even by invoking Title II of the Communications Act.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was presented with a similar petition by Alamo, asking the court to disapprove of the FCC order and nullify it.
Back in 2010, the FCC had adopted the Open Internet Order, a proposal that forbade broadband providers to discriminate or block content providers. However, Verizon had filed a lawsuit in the Columbia Circuit court in January 2014 and managed to overrule that decision.
Image Source: Wired
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