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Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 01/28/2011

FCC moves to dismiss Verizon, MetroPCS lawsuits on net neutrality

By Cecilia Kang

The Federal Communications Commission asked a federal court to dismiss recent lawsuits brought by Verizon Communications and MetroPCS to overturn the agency's Internet access rules.

In a press statement, a senior FCC officials said that the companies did not follow procedural guidelines and filed their suits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit too early.

"The rules that govern when and how parties may challenge FCC orders are clear, and Verizon and MetroPCS filed too early when they challenged the Open Internet order," the official said.

As reported, Verizon and Metro PCS filed suits against the FCC to overturn its December order that prohibits Internet access companies from blocking or prioritizing content on their networks. Both companies filed suits at the same appeals court that told the agency last April that it had previously overstepped its authority to regulate broadband services when it sanctioned Comcast for blocking file-sharing.

Typically, a legal challenge to a FCC order occurs after it is published in the Federal Register, which hasn't happened yet. Verizon Communications and Metro PCS, however, said in their suits that there is an FCC exception that allows for challenges to be filed early when specific parties are affected.

Verizon also said a statutory provision allows the DC Circuit exclusive jurisdiction
over certain appeals, including when a party challenges an FCC decision modifying the party’s licenses. In its appeal, Verizon said the FCC had modified Verizon’s licenses, giving the D.C. Circuit exclusive jurisdiction, analysts said.

By Cecilia Kang  | January 28, 2011; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Verizon  
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Comments

The FCC is delaying the inevitable. Ultimately, a court will hear the case and will determine that the FCC exceeded its legally granted powers when it tried to seize control over the Internet (which it did, in turn, to enforce regulations favorable to big Obama contributor Google).

Of course, you won't hear the whole story on this matter from Cecilia Kang, Google's reporter and lobbyist at The Post, who lobbies for advertiser Google in most of the articles she writes.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | January 28, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

To let a few big companies like verizon, comcast to determine what content can travel over there networks would be bad for information and customers. Obviously if i could limit companies on the internet then I could then charge companies huge rates for access. Its the same as supermarkets due to products. Pay me or I wont put your pocket in my store or in a place any body will see it. Only big companies that have levage can avoid it. Its not happening yet, but gradually the big cable giants would start doing the same thing.

Posted by: niceday971 | January 28, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

To let a few big companies like verizon, comcast to determine what content can travel over there networks would be bad for information and customers. Obviously if i could limit companies on the internet then I could then charge companies huge rates for access. Its the same as supermarkets do to products. Pay me or I wont put your product in my store or in a place any body will see it. Only big companies that have levage can avoid it. Its not happening yet, but gradually the big cable giants would start doing the same thing.

Posted by: niceday971 | January 28, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

On this particular challenge, the FCC is wasting it's time and our money...

Posted by: NJJACK | January 28, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Interesting topic today, Ceclia. How much control should government have over Internet access? Mubarak's dictatorship apparently used their controls to entirely shut off Egypt's Internet access yesterday, except for their stock markets. I suppose the government of Egypt will be making sure they use up that huge bucket of U.S. aid money/goods all the while.

Posted by: thw2001 | January 28, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Companies that use the public airwaves, have government mandated monopolies and / or use of the government's right of way should be regulated as common carriers. This includes all the mobile phone companies, the baby bells and the cable companies. If they'd prefer to rebuild their networks without the advantage of government rights of way, airways or monopolies, then I'd be happy to see them dispose of their bandwidth as they wish. Until then they and their apologists can stop the whining.

Posted by: robert17 | January 28, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

To everyone who thinks that this just "more government regulation," I urge you to do some research before condemning the FCC. What they are trying to do is PRESERVE the open market competition of the internet. Companies like verizon are trying to stifle it through what amounts to extortion. Traditionally the internet has always treated all data equally, so that whether you're a small startup or a giant conglomerate, you get the same speed and bandwidth for the same price.
What the telecoms want to do is be able to favor their own services and charge you and other businesses more based on content type, which will make it very difficult for new and small companies to enter the market, as well as gouging consumers. This stifles innovation.
This isn't a right/left thing, it's a case where the telecoms are trying to manipulate things so that they can manipulate the market. Net neutrality is the reason that the internet works so well as a free market - anyone with a good idea and the will to execute it can succeed. If the telecoms have their way, the internet would be subject to whatever limitations they wanted instead of being open as it is now.

Posted by: stormbeta | January 29, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The "network neutrality" regulations imposed by the FCC were written by Google. They're not intended to preserve any kind of freedom; they're intended to shore up Google's monopolies and bolster its bottom line. The regulations, if they were to take effect, would actually harm competition. They would hurt consumers by depriving them of a choice of providers, raising the price of access, degrading quality of service, and deterring innovation. Fortunately, the regulations are illegal and are beyond the FCC's legally delegated powers. The courts will nullify them.

It's ironic that the FCC is trying to squelch lawsuits petitioning the courts to do this. The FCC claims to be pro-First Amendment, and yet it's trying to deny these companies their right to petition the government for redress.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | January 29, 2011 11:59 PM | Report abuse

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