Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s implementation of Net Neutrality Rules in the United States Court of Appeals as a violation of the First Amendment- the right to free speech.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) argues that FCC went beyond its authority and the implementation of the Net Neutrality Rules is unconstitutional by controlling all aspects of broadband internet access services. According to CNET, the company cited that the rules are “stripping them of control over transmission of speech on their networks.”
Verizon further described that the rules are “arbitrary and capricious.” In addition, the company also argued that FCC “lacks statutory authority for the rules” and the Congress did not empower the Commission and provide it with a broad authority to control the internet.
FCC adopted a set of Net Neutrality Rules in December 2010 in order to protect broadband users from service providers’ practices in slowing down traffic or blocking specific contents. The Net Neutrality Rules mandate both wireless and wire line providers to manage and operate their networks with transparency and they prohibited to block internet traffic. The rules were imposed after the Commission lost its lawsuit against Comcast, which was charged of violating net neutrality principles.
Last September 2011, Verizon vowed to challenge the Net Neutrality Rules when the Commission approved and published it for enactment. Other telecommunications companies such as Metro PCS also filed related complaint against FCC.
This is the second lawsuit filed by Verizon against the FCC to stop the Net Neutrality Rules. Its first attempt was filed last January 2011 but it was ruled pre-mature by the court since the rules at the time was not yet enacted.
On the other hand, supporters of FCC believe that the Net Neutrality Rules are necessary to protect consumers and to promote competition. The Commission has until September to submit its legal response to Verizon’s court arguments and request to overturn the rules.