U.S. Broadband Companies File Lawsuits Over Net Neutrality Rules

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US broadband providers filed lawsuits Monday to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s recently approved Net neutrality regulations, the first challenges in what is expected to be a lengthy court fight over the new Internet traffic rules.

The USTelecom Association, a trade group that represents some of the nation’s largest Internet service providers, filed a complaint Monday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that claims the FCC’s action is a violation of federal law and was “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.” Texas-based ISP Alamo Broadband made similar arguments against the FCC’s action Monday in a federal appeals court in New Orleans.

The new rules — approved by a 3-2 vote last month — adopted Net neutrality regulations based on a new definition of broadband that lets the government regulate Internet infrastructure as a public utility. The rules prohibit broadband providers from blocking or slowing down traffic on wired and wireless networks. They also ban Internet service providers from offering paid priority services that could allow them to charge content companies, such as Netflix, fees to access Internet “fast lanes” to reach customers more quickly when networks are congested.

“As we have said throughout this debate, our member companies conduct their business in conformance with the open Internet principles, and support their enactment into law,” USTelecom President Walter McCormick said in a statement. “We do not believe the Federal Communications Commission’s move to utility-style regulation invoking Title II authority is legally sustainable.”

USTelecom said it filed its five-page protective petition for review out of concern that a 10-day period to challenge the rules was triggered when the agency published the new rules on March 12. However, the FCC said the window for legal challenges is 60 days after the rules are published in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur in the coming days.

An FCC spokesperson called the petitions for review “premature and subject to dismissal.”

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SOURCE: Cnet, Steven Musil

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