AT&T Inc. and three cable and wireless trade groups filed separate lawsuits on Tuesday challenging the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s new “net neutrality” regulations governing web traffic. AT&T is the first large telecom player to individually appeal against the FCC’s new rules.” The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, CTIA-The Wireless Association and American Cable Association also filed lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. USTelecom, another trade group, filed a similar lawsuit on Monday. AT&T’s challenge follows one by smaller Internet provider Alamo Broadband in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans last month.
The rules take effect 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register on Monday, a step that set off a series of lawsuits. Approved in February and posted online on March 12, the FCC’s new rules treat Internet service providers as more heavily regulated “telecommunications services,” more like traditional telephone companies. AT&T and the groups in their filings said the rules were “arbitrary, capricious” and against various laws and procedures. The new rules prevent broadband providers from blocking or slowing any Internet traffic and from striking deals with content companies for smoother delivery to consumers. “Instead of promoting greater industry investment …the FCC opted to resuscitate a command-and-control regulatory regime, including a process where innovators must first seek permission from the FCC before rolling out new services,” CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker said in a statement.
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