FCC Files Motion to Throw Out Open Internet Challenges by Verizon, MetroPCS

FCC, Net Neutrality January 31st, 2011

, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2011 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filed a motion Friday afternoon asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss lawsuits by Verizon and MetroPCS against the agency over its recent Open Internet Order.

Verizon’s appeal, which it filed early last week, opposes “the FCC’s assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself.” The FCC Open internet stance  requires network providers to abide by certain rules intended to maintain network neutrality. MetroPCS filed a similar appeal days later objecting to the new rules as being over-broad.

The FCC response to both motions is based mostly on legal procedure.  The FCC asserts that MetroPCS and Verizon were premature in suing the FCC before the Open Internet rules were official.  The FCC’s attorneys assert the decision only takes effect upon “public notice”, in this case being  published in the Federal Register.

The FCC also claims that the D.C. Circuit isn’t the proper court for the case to be heard. Verizon not only claims that the court is the only proper venue for the case, but has filed a motion for the case to be assigned to the same panel that heard Comcast Corp. v. FCC last year. That panel struck down an attempt by the FCC to impose net neutrality rules on cable provider, Comcast.

The FCC asserts that the current case may still be assigned, by lottery, to another venue.

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