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Verizon files new suit over net neutrality rules

Mon, 10/03/2011 - 8:40am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Verizon Communications has carried through on its pledge to challenge the FCC's net neutrality regulations, which are slated to go into effect on Nov. 20.

Verizon vowed to re-file the complaint after its previous lawsuit over the rules was dismissed for being filed prematurely. MetroPCS filed a similar suit, but it was tossed out on the same technicality. MetroPCS has yet to re-file its complaint.

Verizon's latest attempt to overturn the regulations – an appeal and petition for review filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit – follows the lines of its earlier suit.

The complaints allege that the regulations exceed the FCC's authority and are "arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion … contrary to constitutional right, and is otherwise contrary to law."

"We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority to impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services, and on the Internet itself," Michael Glover, Verizon deputy general counsel, said. "We believe this assertion of authority is inconsistent with the statute and will create uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers."

An FCC spokesman defended the regulations and said it would fight Verizon's complaint.

"We are pleased that, since its adoption, the Commission's open Internet framework has brought certainty and predictability, stimulating increased innovation and investment across the broadband economy, including mobile networks and apps," he said. "We will vigorously oppose any effort to disrupt or unsettle that certainty, which ensures that the Internet remains an engine for job creation, innovation and economic growth."

Verizon's suit marks the second complaint filed against the FCC's open Internet rules since they were published in the Federal Register last week.

Advocacy group Free Press is also challenging the regulations, claiming they  "arbitrarily" give fewer protections to mobile Internet users and "do not deliver on the promise to preserve openness for mobile Internet access."

The FCC and the wireless industry say mobile broadband needs to be regulated differently from fixed broadband because of its limited spectrum resources.

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