Originally published: July 3, 2012
Last updated: July 3, 2012 - 6:35pm
[Commentary] Verizon is taking aim at network neutrality regulations enacted by the Federal Communications Commission with an outsized legal appeal.
The company’s 116-page tome filed on the evening of July 2 has a glossary, 53 pages of legal argument, inflammatory prose on regulating the Internet and even a claim that the FCC is trampling the First Amendment rights of ISPs. It’s all a bit much but Verizon may prevail. That’s because, underneath all the bluster, Verizon has a strong core argument that the FCC overstepped its bounds in enacting these net neutrality rules. The FCC, you see, can regulate the physical pipes over which packets travel on the network pretty stringently, but less so the actual service or content those packets are meant to deliver. Consider that the FCC can regulate roads but not the mail delivery using those roads. The question of the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband is the biggest issue and likely the one on which the case will hinge. This same court has already rejected the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband in the 2010 Comcast case, and it may again. The FCC’s response to the suit is due in September, so we’ll have to wait until then to see the agency’s response and until December or January 2013 for the case to be heard before the court. The hope is we’ll have a ruling in spring of 2013.
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