Verizon seeks to block net neutrality rules

As expected, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) filed suit in federal appeals court seeking to block the FCC from enacting net neutrality rules that are scheduled to go into effect Nov. 20.

Last December, the FCC passed net neutrality rules in a contentious 3-2 vote. Under the new rules, wireless carriers are barred from blocking services like Google Voice and Skype that compete with their own voice and video offerings, as well as those in which they have an attributable interest. However, they do not face the same restrictions wired operators do on blocking Web traffic and other applications--a ban on unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic.

Verizon claims that FCC's action was "arbitrary" and "capricious" and that the commission acted beyond its statutory authority in imposing the rules.

The rules "impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services and on the Internet itself," Michael Glover, deputy general counsel at Verizon, said in a statement. He added that Verizon is committed to an open Internet.

Earlier this year, Verizon and MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) sued over the new rules, arguing that FCC does not have the right to impose or enforce rules on how they manage traffic on their respective networks. Those lawsuits were thrown out after the Appeals for the District of Columbia said the rules couldn't be challenged before they were published in the Federal Register.

The rules are now published in the Federal Register. Last week Internet advocacy group Free Press filed a lawsuit challenging the FCC's distinction between wireless and wireline networks. The group believes wireless operators got off too easy.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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