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Verizon sues FCC over net neutrality rules

Don't tell us what to do
Fri Jan 21 2011, 11:27

US TELCO Verizon has launched a court challenge against net neutrality rules imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a move that everybody saw coming.

Verizon claims that the FCC has exceeded its authority by imposing rules to prevent ISPs from blocking access to certain websites and applications. The rules are intended to prevent telecom and cable firms from discriminating against Internet services in favour of their own or those of paying customers.

For example, the online calling service Skype would likely suffer discrimination, as it impacts on the profits made by major telecom providers. Google also offers services that compete with the incumbent telecoms and actively supports the FCC net neutrality proposals.

The FCC rules it voted to adopt in December provide wireless firms some freedom to manage their networks, but expressly forbid them from blocking access to any websites as well as competing voice and video apps.

Verizon is the first company to appeal the order, claiming that the FCC regulations are unconstitutional and beyond the authority delegated by US Congress.

It is uncertain what's going to happen here. The FCC thinks that the order is legally sound, while the US federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia previously ruled that the FCC overstepped its authority in the past.

There's a clash between the open Internet and the freedom that businesses expect to innovate and grow in any way they choose. The only thing that is certain so far is that this saga is going to rumble on. µ



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