Verizon Fires Back at FCC in Net Neutrality Dispute

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Verizon Communications asked the D.C. Circuit on Monday to deny the Federal Communications Commission’s motion to dismiss the so-called “premature” lawsuits filed by Verizon and MetroPCS over net neutrality.




     In a motion on Friday, the FCC said the telecommunications companies jumped the gun by filing suit before publication of the commission’s December Open Internet order in the Federal Register.
     Verizon’s latest salvo against the FCC’s order argues that a notice of appeal to a modification of an existing wireless spectrum license must be filed within 30 days from the date the order is released by the FCC.
     The FCC says challenges to orders that modify an entire class of existing licenses, such as the one at hand, require notice in the Federal Register. Orders that modify individual licenses, on the other hand, do not require notice in the Federal Register and are handled through the agency’s adjudication process.
     Verizon says it intends to file an additional appeal after publication in the Federal Register to play it safe because “the commission historically has aggressively – and successfully – moved to dismiss appeals that were not filed within 30 days of the relevant order’s release date.
     “Had Verizon incorrectly assumed that the 30-day period ran from Federal Register publication and not the release date, the FCC might well have argued for dismissal of Verizon’s appeal as forever barred because it was too late,” Verizon’s motion states. “Given the importance of the issues involved in this appeal … the only prudent course for Verizon was to file its appeal within 30 days of the order’s release.”
     Verizon and MetroPCS argued in their appeals the FCC lacks the statutory authority to regulate the way Internet service providers allocate bandwidth, which translates into speed, for accessing a website.
     In its Open Internet order, the FCC’s net neutrality guidelines prohibit broadband providers from collecting fees in lieu of blocking or limiting access to content, applications or service providers.

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