Verizon has fired the first salvo against net neutrality, appealing the Federal Communications Commission rules in the courts.
The appeal, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, notes the same court ruled that the FCC did not justify its authority to regulate broadband services.
The original ruling, in Comcast v. FCC, said that the FCC did not have the authority to regulate network management practices when Comcast interfered with subscribers using peer-to-peer services. The court said internet service does not fall under the definition of telecommunications that would put it under FCC jurisdiction.
Verizon also says that the FCC rules are a modification of the company's license, and as such the rules can be appealed in the D.C. Circuit.
That case was decided in April. The FCC adopted its net neutrality rules in December, saying that the cable and telephone companies that provide Internet service can't block certain kinds of content, and they have to allow competitors to use their networks. (The same rules do not apply to wireless carriers).
We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself. We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers, said Michael E. Glover, Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel, in a statement.
Media Access, an advocacy group, called the appeal blatant appeals court forum shopping.
Under this bizarre legal theory, virtually every FCC decision would wind up in one court. Verizon has made a blatant attempt to locate its challenge in a favorable appeals court forum. The company's theory assumes that all agency actions changing rules are 'modifications' to hundreds of thousands of licenses. This would insure the case remains in the District of Columbia Circuit, and keeps others from seeking review in different courts. said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior vice president and policy director of Media Access Project, in statement.