The FCC’s new net neutrality rules, voted in last month, haven’t even gone into effect yet, but they’re already being challenged by Verizon. The rules were actually toned down a bit so that the big telco’s would be okay with them, and it did appease some companies, including AT&T (NYSE: T). But apparently the rules still rankled Verizon, which filed suit today in a federal appeals court in Washington D.C. seeking to overturn the rules, arguing that the FCC doesn’t have the authority.
Verizon is hoping that the FCC’s authority has been weakened after Comcast’s court victory over an earlier version of net neutrality rules. Last year, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) won a court victory that called into question the FCC’s efforts to make rules around the internet. Verizon has filed suit in the same court that handed Comcast its victory, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It’s likely to be friendly ground for a company hoping to limit the power of the FCC, with six of the nine judges currently sitting on that court appointed by Republicans.
The net neutrality rules-if they do go into effect-would prohibit broadband providers from blocking websites, subject to a somewhat vague exception for “reasonable nework management.” A slightly milder version of the rules would have gone into effect for mobile providers, which would have allowed them some leeway to block certain applications; carriers said they needed that freedom to make sure their networks didn’t get bogged down.
In a brief statement about the filing of the suit, Verizon said it’s still dedicated to an open internet, but the company “believe[s] this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”