USTelecom files lawsuit to challenge FCC’s net neutrality rules
The United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), claiming the regulator’s open internet regulation violates the country’s federal law.
The filing against the FCC comes after the rules were published in the US government’s Federal Register on Monday. The rules will go into effect on June 12 if a court doesn’t block them.
The lawsuit sought a review of the rules on grounds that they are “arbitrary and capricious” and marks a violation of federal law. It also said the FCC did not follow the proper procedure for creating the rules.
“Our appeal is not focused on challenging the objectives articulated by the president, but instead the unjustifiable shift backward to common carrier regulation after more than a decade of significantly expanded broadband access and services for consumers under light-touch regulation,” said Walter McCormick, president of USTelecom.
“Reclassifying broadband Internet access as a public utility reverses decades of established legal precedent at the FCC and upheld by the Supreme Court. History has shown that common carrier regulation slows innovation, chills investment, and leads to increased costs on consumers,” he added.
Approved by the FCC in a 3-2 vote in February 2015, the net neutrality rules ensure that ISPs such as AT&T and Verizon cannot block, censor or pay for so-called "fast lanes" that would prioritise content.
Despite the legal challenges, the regulator is confident the rules will be upheld by the courts. "We are confident the FCC's new open internet rules will be upheld by the courts, ensuring enforceable protections for consumers and innovators online," according to an FCC spokesperson.