Thursday, March 26, 2015

USTelecom Files Appeal Against FCC Net Neutrality Rules

Industry association USTelecom has filed a review petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as a preliminary move to challenging the FCC's new net neutrality rules. The group said that its appeal will focus on the FCC's decision to reclassify broadband internet access as a public utility service and thereby allow stricter regulation of ISPs. USTelecom said it otherwise supports the net neutrality rules and that the new rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking or throttling specific internet traffic will not be the focus of its appeal. The group said the FCC could have implemented these rules relying on other, existing, legislation. 

Considering the impact that the FCC's public-utility stance could have on operators' and other ISPs' ability to charge different rates to different content providers, it was inevitable that those entities would challenge the new rules. However, the legal action may be premature and subject to being tossed out for reasons of timing alone. In any case, the process of challenging any aspect of the net neutrality rules will be a lengthy one, and pursuing it under the umbrella of an industry group is likely a wise strategic move, in that no one industry player will become a lightning rod or give regulators an opening to dismiss the appeal on narrow grounds.

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