Lawsuits filed by Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS against the FCC's new net-neutrality rules have been thrown out-for the time being-by a federal court.
appeals court has dismissed lawsuits filed by Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS
against the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality regulations, calling
the suits premature.
lawsuits, Verizon and MetroPCS took issue with the FCC's new rulings regarding
net neutrality, which the regulatory agency would like to put in place to
specify wireless carriers' behaviors in providing consumers with Internet
service. While the FCC voted in December 2010 to adopt the new rules, they
haven't yet been formally published. The court ruled that once those
regulations are in place-likely in late May or early June-the carriers can then
dispute them, The Wall
reported April 5.
Verizon, in a suit it filed Jan. 20
, said it would challenge
the rules later if the original lawsuit were tossed out. MetroPCS isn't
offering comment on the matter, the Journal added.
rules address three issues-transparency, blocking and discrimination. The FCC
wants broadband providers to publically disclose their management practices to
subscribers, to restrict broadband providers from blocking or slowing the
Internet content of competitors, and from "discriminating" against
legal traffic by, say, offering faster speeds to those willing to pay for
In its suit,
Verizon questioned the FCC's authority to weigh in on such matters.
this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by
Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators,
investors and consumers," Verizon said in a Jan. 20 statement.
later, MetroPCS followed with its own suit
"MetroPCS is committed to promoting competition and an open Internet by
giving consumers choices for wireless Internet access services at prices they
can afford," Roger D. Linquist, MetroPCS president and CEO, said in a Jan. 25
The new FCC
rules would prohibit some of MetroPCS' current practices. The carrier, which
offers its own MetroStudio video service, blocks subscribers from accessing
competing sites such as Netflix.
The FCC has
applauded the court's decision.
pleased the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed with the commission that
Verizon and MetroPCS were premature in challenging the Open Internet
framework," said FCC spokesman Robert Kenny, according to the Journal.
"The commission's policy preserves Internet freedom and openness, and
strikes the right balance for consumers and businesses across America."
The FCC, in a
Dec. 21, 2010, statement, described its news rules as working to "preserve the
Internet as an open network enabling consumer choice, freedom of expression,
user control, competition and the freedom to innovate."
The FCC has
additionally taken measures to ensure that all Americans have access to
high-speed Internet services, and in an April 4 statement, FCC Commissioner
Mignon L. Clyburn spoke against legislation designed to prevent state, regional
and local governments from building their own broadband networks. While
proponents of the legislation believe it would create a more level playing
field for providers of the service, Clyburn said the practice could instead
prevent local governments from stepping in to provide broadband service to
areas that have been underserved by private companies.
American citizen or community should be left behind in the digital age,"
Clyburn said in a statement. "I remain concerned that when cities and
local governments are prohibited from investing directly in their own broadband
networks, citizens may be denied the opportunity to connect with their nation
and improve their lives. Local economies will suffer as a result, and the
communities' ability to effectively address education, health, public safety
and other social issues will be severely hampered."
Carolina, South Carolina and Arkansas are all considering the legislation.