Verizon filed a brief with a federal court on Monday, as part of its ongoing litigation against the FCC's net neutrality rules. In its brief, Verizon argued that the agency's regulations are not only unconstitutional, but "arbitrary and capricious." The carrier also claimed that the FCC exceeded its authority by adopting the rules in 2010, writing that the Commission has "acted without statutory authority to insert itself into this crucial segment of the American economy, while failing to show any factual need to do so." MetroPCS is also challenging the FCC's regulation, and joined in many of Verizon's claims.
The companies lodged their complaint with the DC Court of Appeals — the same court that, in 2010, sided with Comcast in a similar challenge to the FCC. That ruling led to the implementation of today's regulations, which, according to Verizon, "go even farther than" those the FCC sought to enforce against Comcast, "and impose dramatic new restrictions on broadband Internet access service providers."
Verizon and MetroPCS went on to argue against the regulations on constitutional grounds, pointing out that Congress never authorized the FCC to regulate web access in the first place. The companies also claimed that the rules violate their right to free speech, since "[b]roadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech." Verizon even went a step further, claiming that the rules violate the Fifth Amendment, because they allow people to use privately-owned broadband for free. (MetroPCS did not join in this argument.)
The FCC, for its part, is slated to file a formal response in September. In an e-mail to The Hill, a spokesman said the agency looks "forward to defending our open Internet rules in court," adding that today's "strong and balanced framework is helping ensure that the Internet continues to thrive as an engine for innovation, investment, job creation, and free expression."