Free Press is seeking a review on the grounds that the decision violates the Communications Act of 1934.
media reform group is suing the Federal Communications Commission over
the Internet regulations the agency put in place late last year.
group Free Press filed the lawsuit against the FCC Sept. 28 in the First
Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The organization is seeking review of the
FCC's December 2010 Open Internet order. Free Press, headquartered in Western
Massachusetts, wants to challenge the "arbitrary nature of rule provisions"
that provide less protection for mobile wireless Internet access than they do
for wired connections as part of the FCC's net neutrality proposal.
the FCC first proposed the Open Internet rules, they came with the
understanding that there is only one Internet, no matter how people choose to
reach it," Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said in a statement. "The final
rules provide some basic protections for consumers, but do not deliver on the
promise to preserve openness for mobile Internet access. They fail to protect
wireless users from discrimination, and they let mobile providers block
innovative applications with impunity."
said the group's challenge will show that there is no evidence in the
record to justify this arbitrary distinction between wired and wireless
disparity that the FCC's rules create is unjust and unjustified. And it's
especially problematic because of the increasing popularity of wireless, along
with its increasing importance for younger demographics and diverse populations
who rely on mobile devices as their primary means for getting online," he said.
"Free Press will fight in court to make these rules stronger, even as we work
elsewhere to uphold the FCC's crucial role in promoting openness and equality
on the Internet."
Free Press is seeking the review on the grounds that the decision violates the
Communications Act of 1934, or other statutes, and is "arbitrary and
capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise contrary to law." The
organization is requesting that the court hold unlawful and set aside, vacate
or enjoin such aspects of the Open Internet Order as necessary, remand the
petition to the FCC for further proceedings, and order any such other relief as
the court may find proper.
FCC released a statement of its own regarding the lawsuit, vowing to
"vigorously oppose any effort to disrupt or unsettle that certainty, which
ensures that the Internet remains an engine for job creation, innovation and
is not the first time the FCC has been sued over its net neutrality regulations:
In April, a federal appeals court dismissed lawsuits filed by Verizon Wireless
and MetroPCS against the FCC's proposed regulations, calling the suits
premature. In their 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.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.