Three new lawsuits challenge FCC's net neutrality rules

The agency is now facing five legal challenges from four trade groups and one ISP

The rush is on to sue the U.S. Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality rules, with three trade groups filing legal challenges Tuesday.

The agency now faces five lawsuits related to the regulations.

Mobile trade group CTIA, cable trade group the National Cable and Telecommunications Association [NCTA] and the American Cable Association, which represents small cable operators, all filed lawsuits Tuesday.

The three new lawsuits all challenge the FCC's decision to reclassify broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service, reversing a long-standing agency position that it is a lightly regulated information service. The CTIA lawsuit also focuses on the reclassification of mobile broadband.

The new rules will "chill investment," and the FCC's decision ignores a competitive mobile industry, CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said in a statement. "Instead of promoting greater industry investment in the connected world of tomorrow, the FCC opted to resuscitate a command-and-control regulatory regime, including a process where innovators must first seek permission from the FCC before rolling out new services," she added.

By reclassifying broadband, the FCC has rewritten the Communications Act without permission from Congress, added Theodore Olson, a veteran lawyer representing the NCTA, said in a statement.

"Congress clearly intended for the Internet to evolve unencumbered by complex, inefficient government regulations," Olson added.  "Instead of letting regulators play the central role in determining how the Internet evolves, they wanted these decisions to be left to the creativity of entrepreneurs, engineers and consumers."

The FCC is confident the rules will be upheld by the courts, agency spokeswoman Kim Hart said by email. A favorable court decision will ensure "enforceable protections for consumers and innovators online," she added.

The new net neutrality rules, approved by the FCC on Feb. 26, would prohibit broadband and mobile carriers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic. The rules also reclassify broadband as a regulated telecom service, instead of treating it as a lightly regulated information service, as the FCC has done for the past decade.

In late March, the United States Telecom Association, another trade group, and ISP Alamo Broadband filed lawsuits challenging the net neutrality rules. USTelecom refiled its lawsuit Monday after the FCC's rules were published in the Federal Register, the official publication for U.S. agency rules.

Typically, plaintiffs have to wait until FCC orders are published in the Federal Register to file lawsuits, but USTelecom had some procedural questions because of the sprawling nature of the FCC rules.

The lawsuits against the FCC's rules will likely be consolidated into one case in one court. Most of the challenges were filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, although the Alamo lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, based in Louisiana.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationNational Cable and Telecommunications AssociationregulationCivil lawsuitsKim HartmobileinternetMeredith Attwell BakerInternet service providersAmerican Cable AssociationTheodore OlsonlegalctiaU.S. Federal Communications Commissiongovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?