Verizon files suit to overturn FCC's net neutrality rules

Verizon has filed suit in federal court arguing that the FCC's Dec. 21 order establishing net neutrality rules exceeds the agency's authority, is arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of its discretion.

The rules are intended to prevent Internet service providers from arbitrarily blocking users' access to specific websites and content.

Verizon says that while it supports network neutrality, it believes the FCC action "goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers." It's asking that the court overturn the rules.

"We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself," said Michael E. Glover, Verizon's senior vice president and deputy general counsel. "We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers."

The telco filed in the same court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, that overturned an FCC censure of Comcast for throttling P2P traffic; it also hired the same attorney Comcast used in its win.

Verizon earlier this week threw its support behind cable operator Comcast in its dispute with Level 3 over new fees the MSO imposed on the Internet backbone provider after it announced it had landed a contract to handle a huge piece of traffic from Netflix. Verizon and Comcast say the fees are simply designed to compensate Comcast for the increased bandwidth and resources it needs to allocate to Level 3. But Level 3 contends the fees are designed to make it more expensive for Netflix to reach Comcast subscribers, a violation, it says, of the net neutrality rules.

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