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FCC strikes down petition to delay new net neutrality rules

FCC strikes down petition to delay new net neutrality rules


Petition drawn up by AT&T, CenturyLink, USTelecom, and others halted

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From the moment the Federal Communications published its Open Internet order — rules designed to protect net neutrality — on March 12th, it has faced multiple legal challenges from telecom companies keen to shoot down the new regulations and keep the status quo. Most recently, on May 1st, a group of organizations including AT&T, CenturyLink, USTelecom, and wireless trade association CTIA petitioned for the FCC to delay the implementation of its Open Internet order, arguing that reclassifying broadband as a service is against the public interest. But the FCC is fighting back.

Last Friday, the Commission denied the petition, issuing an order that states its classification of broadband internet as a telecommunications service "falls well within the Commission's statutory authority, is consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and fully complies with the Administrative Procedure Act." The petition had argued specifically against the reclassification, stating that it would lead to "unrecoverable losses" for broadband providers and "significant costs" that would hurt consumers. Some of the FCC's rulings were more acceptable to the petitioners, however — the organizations involved did not complain about the three "bright line" rules that stop providers from blocking legal content, throttling subscribers, and from offering paid prioritization.

The petition argued against the classification of broadband as a service

While this latest petition has been halted, the FCC still has to get its rulings through court and past an array of lawsuits designed to take them down. FCC head Tom Wheeler is sure the Open Internet order will get through, bringing in a new and fairer set of rules for the internet, but his commission's success in striking this petition down is just one battle of many to come.