AT&T and several telecom trade groups have asked a federal appeals court to partially stay the FCC's implementation of net neutrality. The request, made May 13, seeks to block the FCC from regulating broadband like a public utility. If the request is denied, the groups want their other lawsuits against the FCC to be expedited.
Opponents of FCC's net neutrality rules ask court for partial stay
[A partial stay] is necessary to avoid the serious and substantial harms that service providers and consumers alike will bear if the FCC is allowed to subject the modern Internet to this antiquated regulatory regime… we are mindful that a stay need not upset the FCC's net neutrality rules that prohibit Internet blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.
– Michael Powell National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO
The groups seek to avoid having broadband regulated under Title II of the Communications Act. The FCC told these groups May 8 that it fully intends to regulate broadband under Title II, believing that doing so "falls well within the Commission's statutory authority."
Currently, the net neutrality regulations are set to go into effect June 12, two months after they were officially published in the Federal Register. The FCC voted Feb. 26 to implement the rules, which prevent companies from paying for faster access to consumers (among other provisions).
USTelecom Files Court Challenge to Open Internet Order | USTelecom
The FCC is facing several lawsuits over net neutrality, with the agency attempting to consolidate these lawsuits before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. This was the court that previously handled net neutrality litigation. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is leading congressional opposition to the regulations.
U.S. FCC seeks to consolidate net neutrality cases in Washington court
So far, the FCC is facing lawsuits from the American Cable Association, AT&T, CenturyLink (a broadband provider) CTIA (formerly the Cellular Telephone Industries Association), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and a regional broadband provider in Texas. The lawsuits accuse the FCC of overstepping its regulatory authority in crafting the new regulations.
CTIA Filed Lawsuit to Challenge FCC Open Internet Order
ACA represents 850 small- and mid-market independent cable companies; NCTA represents Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable (among others); CTIA represents wireless providers like Sprint and T-Mobile (among others); and USTelecom includes AT&T and Verizon (among others).
I am incredibly proud of the process the Commission has run in developing today's historic open Internet protections. I say that not just as the head of this agency, but as a U.S. citizen. Today's Open Internet Order is a shining example of American democracy at work.
– Tom Wheeler FCC Chairman
In a statement released after the Feb. 26 vote, Wheeler said there were three keys to "our broadband future": networks must be fast, fair, and open. The FCC first voted to move forward with formulating net neutrality rules in May 2014.
After the vote, President Obama thanked the more than 4 million people who contacted the FCC in support of net neutrality, saying that "calling for change" is the "backbone of our democracy." Obama in Nov. 2014 urged the FCC to regulate broadband like a public utility.
Using [Title II], I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC… My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone's permission.
– Tom Wheeler FCC Chairman
Wheeler in February defended regulating broadband like a public utility, claiming it was the only way to ensure that the Internet remained "an open platform for innovation and free expression."
President Obama's asking the FCC to keep the Internet open and free
The FCC first implemented net neutrality rules in late 2010, but it was quickly sued by Verizon to prevent their imposition. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Jan. 2014 that the agency did not have the regulatory authority to implement net neutrality rules as they were then written.