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Verizon and MetroPCS net neutrality lawsuits dismissed

FCC wins round one
Tue Apr 05 2011, 11:06

NET NEUTRALITY LAWSUITS filed by Verizon Communications and MetroPCS Communications have been dismissed as premature by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The telecoms had sued the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its introduction of rules for regulating the Internet, which would prevent lawful content from being blocked while also allowing Internet service providers (ISPs) some latitude to "manage" their networks, according to Reuters.

Verizon and MetroPCS claimed that the FCC overstepped its bounds in coming up with these rules, but the FCC requested that their cases be dismissed because they were filed prematurely.

The court agreed that the ISPs were suing too early, saying "the prematurity is incurable". A period of 60 days after the publication of FCC rulemakings in the Federal Register is usually the time when appeals and lawsuits are allowed, but this latest rulemaking has not been published yet, making Verizon and MetroPCS' challenges premature.

Verizon said it intended to file a second complaint when the document was published in the Federal Register, but in its rush to fight the FCC's net neutrality rules it might have damaged its case.

The fact that Verizon teamed up with Google to suggest net neutrality rules of its own, only to face strong condemnation across the board, is likely a major reason why it is now opposing the FCC's rulemaking authority.

We expect that more ISPs and content providers will take the FCC to court over net neutrality regulations once they are published. Whether or not those challenges will be dismissed remains to be seen. µ


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