'

Verizon to challenge FCC's net neutrality order

Verizon will challenge the Federal Communications Commission's Net neutrality issued as 2010 was winding down. The gist: The FCC doesn't have the Congressional authority to act.

Verizon said Thursday that it will challenge the Federal Communications Commission's Net neutrality issued as 2010 was winding down.

The challenge isn't entirely unexpected. Even some of the FCC's commissioners argued that the order reached beyond its Congressional authority. In a statement, Verizon's deputy general counsel Michael Glover said:

Today's filing is the result of a careful review of the FCC's order. We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself.  We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.

The Verizon argument is very simple. The court already shot down FCC's previous Net neutrality effort because it didn't have authority.

The FCC framework breaks down like this:

  • Consumers will have a transparent view into how networks are being managed. This information will allow consumers to make a decision on whether to subscribe or use a particular broadband network.
  • Consumers and innovators “have a right to send and receive lawful Internet traffic — to go where they want and say what they want online, and to use the devices of their choice.” Blocking legal content, apps, devices and services is prohibited.
  • No central authority should be able to pick winners or losers by discriminating against “lawful network traffic.”
  • Meanwhile, broadband providers should have the “meaningful flexibility” to manage their networks. These providers should also have incentives—ie profit potential—to build out networks.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski last month said:

We're told by some to not try and fix what’s not broken. Countless innovators and investors say just the opposite. We’ve heard from so many entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and CEOs and their message is clear: The next decade of innovation is at risk without basic rules of the road. Our action will strengthen Internet job creation and ensure Internet freedom at home and around the world.

Here's Verizon's appeal:

VZappeal

See more coverage: