U.S. broadband trade group sues FCC over net neutrality rules

Reuters

A U.S. trade group representing broadband providers on Monday appealed in court the Federal Communications Commission’s recently approved net neutrality rules, marking the first of several anticipated legal challenges.

U.S. Telecom has filed the lawsuit against the FCC in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which has in the past twice rejected the FCC’s net neutrality regulations.

The group argues the new rules are “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion” and violate various laws, regulations and rulemaking procedures.

FCC officials have said they fully expected court challenges and believe their rules are on much firmer legal ground than previous iterations. The agency did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

U.S. Telecom President Walter McCormick said in a statement that the group’s members supported enactment of “open Internet principles” into law, but using the new regulatory regime that the FCC chose.

“We do not believe the (FCC’s) move to utility-style regulation … is legally sustainable,” he said. “Therefore, we are filing a petition to protect our procedural rights in challenging the recently adopted open Internet order.”

Industry sources have previously told Reuters that U.S. Telecom and two other trade groups, CTIA-The Wireless Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, were expected to lead the highly expected legal challenges.

Verizon Communications Inc., which won the 2010 lawsuit against the FCC’s net neutrality rules, is likely to hold back from filing an individual lawsuit this time around, an industry source has told Reuters.

The case is U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC and United States of America, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No. 15-1063.