Last updated: April 24, 2012 - 8:40am
It looks like the legality of the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules will likely be debated through the end of the year in federal court filings.
The parties to the Verizon/MetroPCS/Free Press challenges to FCC network neutrality rules, which have been consolidated into a single case, have agreed on and submitted to the court a schedule for briefs before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. If the court agrees, the first briefs will be filed July 2 and the final briefs not until Nov. 21 (Thanksgiving is Nov. 22). The parties have asked that Verizon, Free Press, and MetroPCS be allowed to file separate briefs, even though they have all challenged the rules. That is because Verizon and MetroPCS are on opposite sides in a separate challenge to FCC data roaming rules (though the two also want to file a joint brief as well). In that challenge, Verizon and MetroPCS disagree over the FCC's authority to regulate wireless broadband, which is also at issue in the network neutrality rules challenge. Free Press wants to file separately because it is challenging the rules because it thinks they don't go far enough, not because they go too far, as the others contend. In addition, the parties say there need to be separate briefs for the pro-FCC interveners in Free Press' challenge to the rules. That is because CTIA, the intervenor in the Free Press, is supporting the FCC's decision not to impose its rules fully on mobile broadband and is not addressing or defending the FCC's regulatory authority, while the pro-FCC intervenors in the Verizon/MetroPCS challenge support the FCC's statutory authority to adopt the rules, which the cell companies are challenging.
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