Verizon sues to overturn ‘net neutrality’ rules

US telco Verizon Communications is suing to overturn regulations governing the flow of Internet traffic. The lawsuit filed in Washington’s US Court of Appeals contends the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overstepped its authority in setting its so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules in 2010. The regulations are scheduled to go into effect November 20. They prohibit Internet service providers from discriminating against or giving special treatment to particular online services or content.

Verizon’s move follows an attempt by media and Internet advocacy group Free Press to block the rules in a Boston federal court. The group objects to a provision that gives cell phone companies some flexibility to manage traffic so their wireless systems aren’t overwhelmed.

“We are deeply concerned by the FCC’s assertion of broad authority to impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services and on the Internet itself,” said Michael Glover, Verizon’s general counsel. “We believe this assertion of authority is inconsistent with the statute and will create uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”

Verizon filed a similar suit against the FCC’s regulations earlier in 2011, but the suit was rejected, with the court determining that the complaint was premature. Following publication of the new rules in the Federal Register, Verizon was able to mount a fresh challenge.

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