Fight Over Net Neutrality Rules Can Finally Head to Court

FCC's controversial rules published, opening door for lawsuits

The court battle over the Federal Communications Commission's controversial network neutrality rules can finally begin in earnest. The rules will finally be published in the Federal Register on Friday, 10 months after the FCC voted for them, and they go into effect November 20.

Verizon and MetroPCS had both filed suit earlier this year, but a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that they had jumped the gun by filing before the rules were published, and dismissed the suit. So the companies have been waiting for their chance to re-file; a Verizon spokesman confirmed that it intends to do so now.   

Some of the nation's biggest Internet providers, backed by Republican congressional leaders, see the rules as the FCC's first step toward regulating the Internet, and say that such efforts are beyond the commission's statutory authority. But Democrats have been consistently in favor of the rules, and with the gridlock on Capitol Hill lately, the fight will likely be resolved in court, not Congress. 

The rules would force Internet service providers to treat all legal content equally and make it illegal for providers to block or slow delivery of their competitors' content. 

Publish date: September 22, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT