Telecom Group Takes Net Neutrality Debate to Court

Telecom Group Takes Net Neutrality Debate to Court

Two separate lawsuits filed challenging the Commission’s February ruling that Internet access should be regulated as a utility.

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This article originally appeared at The WHIR

The net neutrality debate moved from the FCC to the courts this week, as two separate lawsuits were filed challenging the Commission’s February ruling that Internet access should be regulated as a utility. Industry group USTelecom filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Alamo Broadband filed an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

USTelecom represents AT&T, Verizon, and other companies. Its appeal argues that the regulations ushered in by the FCC ruling are “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion,” as well as being technically inadmissible due to various conflicts with standing laws, regulations, and procedures, Reuters reports.

“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. 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,” said USTelecom President Walter McCormick.

The appeals were filed now to meet the appellate deadline, should the FCC start the 10-day window of opportunity on “the date of release or issuance of the FCC’s order” instead of on the date of Federal Registrar publication.

The Alamo Broadband suit makes a similar argument to USTelecom’s, according to Reuters.

The FCC’s decision is not necessarily the net neutrality guarantee all advocates were hoping for. Lawsuits from industry were expected, however, and are expected to be followed by more, if the net neutrality ruling survives that long. In the aftermath of the FCC ruling industry analyst Jeff Kagan predicted a final decision would come from the courts and is “years away.”

The Columbia Circuit has twice rejected FCC Net Neutrality measures, including the Open Internet Order in early 2014. The FCC measures are also being challenged in the legislature, by the Internet Freedom Act.

This article originally appeared at http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/telecom-group-takes-net-neutrality-debate-court

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