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Broadband Group Fires First Shots on Net Neutrality

(CN) - The U.S. Telecom Association asked a federal judge to vacate the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality order as unlawful.

USTelecom, as it is more commonly known, represents broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon. In a petition filed Monday with the D.C. Circuit, it claims that the Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality order is "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion."

The order reclassifies broadband Internet access services as a telecommunications service, which makes broadband providers subject to greater government regulation.

USTelecom claims the FCC lacks the legal authority to make this kind of regulatory classification.

The order also imposes new rules on broadband providers prohibiting them from blocking any Internet traffic or from making deals with any customers for faster service.

With the new regulations appearing in the federal register on Monday, more lawsuits challenging the net neutrality order are likely to follow.

USTelecom President Walter McCormick spoke about the petition in a statement. "USTelecom believes the FCC used the wrong approach to implementing net neutrality standards, which our industry supports and incorporates into everyday business practices," he said.

McCormick noted President Barack Obama's support for the rules set forth in the net-neutrality order.

Though he claimed that the telecommunications industry supports these standards, he said increased regulation of broadband providers was unnecessary, and unlawful.

"Reclassifying broadband Internet access as a public utility reverses decades of established legal precedent at the FCC and upheld by the Supreme Court," McCormick said. "History has shown that common carrier regulation slows innovation, chills investment, and leads to increased costs on consumers. The commission's overreach is not only legally unsustainable, it is unwise given the enormous success of the commission's Title I approach for consumers, businesses and Internet entrepreneurs, and it is unnecessary given the fact that broadband service providers are operating in conformance with the open Internet standards advanced by the President, agree with the standards, support their adoption in regulation by the FCC under Section 706, and support their enactment into law by the United States Congress."

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