11 Comments

Summary:

Verizon filed a lawsuit today questioning the FCC’s authority to implement the agency’s network neutrality rules, but while the argument here is important, the underlying goal for this lawsuit and others that will be filed is finding a court sympathetic to each parties’ cause.

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Verizon today filed a lawsuit with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia appealing the Federal Communications Commission’s order that sets rules in place to prevent network owners from discriminating on packets traversing their networks. The so-called network neutrality order was approved in December, and lawsuits such as Verizon’s were an expected part of the process.

Verizon is arguing the FCC doesn’t have the legal authority to implement such rules, something legal scholars have questioned in the wake of a ruling by the same court that Verizon has appealed to, which said the FCC didn’t have the legal authority to censure Comcast for blocking P2P traffic on its network. The argument here is important, but the underlying goal in this lawsuit, and with others expected to be filed in the coming weeks, is finding a sympathetic court to hear the inevitable appeals interested parties will make.

It’s no coincidence that Verizon has filed in the very conservative D.C. Appeals court, which has previously struck down FCC rulings, and sees the FCC’s power as limited when it comes to network neutrality. It’s also no coincidence that Verizon’s lawyer in this case, Helgi Walker of Wiley Rein LLP, is the same lawyer who argued for Comcast in the ruling that called the FCC’s authority on network neutrality and even broadband services into question. Other interest groups or companies will likely file lawsuits in friendlier courts in California or other areas of the country where the judges are more likely to rule in favor of the FCC.

The jurisdictional shopping will result in a lottery where one court or the other will be chosen, and once that court is selected, my sources say they will have a fairly clear sense of whether or not the network neutrality rules will stick. Stay tuned; the network neutrality debate will continue — this time in the courts.

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  1. Rick Mainstreethost Thursday, January 20, 2011

    Verizon needs to focus on their new venture with Apple iPhone and how it can increase business. mainstreethost

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  2. Dennis Postal Friday, January 21, 2011

    I am afraid I still don’t understand!

    I thought that this had something to do with fishing! What net is this again….All I know is when the government touches something, it is the same as a glance at Medusa, live turns to stone!

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    1. Well corporations don’t exactly have the interest of the consumer in mind. Verizon and comcast should in no way be able to shape the traffic that leaves or comes into my computer. They are providers, nothing more. It is not just about p2p either, they want to be able to slow connections that go to websites on rival networks. They will have the final say as to whether they want you to look at a certain site or not. This is a case where government most definitely should step in and keep predatory corporations from screwing the consumer.

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  3. Rarely a law goes into effect without first being OK’d by a corporate sponsor like Comcast, and certainly anything that would have to do with the internet.

    The real law enforcers on the internet are the carries, as we saw when the US government went to the PROVIDERS to shut down Wikileaks, and Amazon exercised their power. Who is it that should have the power to cut off a voice on the internet, or ability to connect it?

    Providers or the Current (Corporate Controlled) US Federal Government?

    Neither.

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  4. It really would be something if a real leader would stand against the corrupt flotsam of lobbyists and corporate party politicians. To me, it seems a glaring conflict of interest that Comcast is becoming a content owner as well, let alone a reality of themselves, Verizon, Amazon…etc or any other major provider having direct or indirect control of access to the world net, which is equivalent to information fascism.

    It is a matter of civic personal responsibility as well. Americans need to see being a proper and earnest American civilian as a sort of job, a dedication to democracy. To truth. To freedom of information in this case.

    Americans must see that the policing force of the internet is the gate to get there. Especially a monolithic, multi-national organization with a clear interest in forging consent, both in government and in society at large, for their own financial advantage.

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  5. So much for an independent judiciary devoid of politics. Since we’re arguing this, we might as well drag up Bush v. Gore again…

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  6. [...]  filed an expected appeal to the FCC’s recently passed Net Neutrality rules.As Stacey pointed out, Verizon’s main goal is to find a sympathetic court to take up the case. It looks like it [...]

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  7. [...] The rules, which were approved in December, are already facing a legal challenge from Verizon, as I reported last week. In that post I said: Verizon is arguing the FCC doesn’t have the legal authority to implement [...]

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  8. On Friday February 4th from 9 AM EST to 1 PM EST we will be streaming Regulatory 2.0. ATT, Google, Microsoft, Skype and Verizon will be sharing their thoughts on Net Neutrality and other issues around the National Broadband Plan and the problems facing the country, the FCC and your constituents. Please join us at http://www.4gwe.mobi

    http://play.goldmail.com/k4djpt4zdgs0

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  9. [...] to have the same three judges who ruled against the FCC in an earlier network neutrality case hear Verizon’s current attempt to contest regulatory agency’s network neutrality rules. However, Verizon, which filed its lawsuit on Jan. 20, still has an advantage because it filed so [...]

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  10. [...] U.S. Federal Court of Appeals has dismissed the case that Verizon Communications filed against the Federal Communications Commission over the agency’s network neutrality rules. The ruling is a win for the FCC, although Verizon [...]

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