Verizon Communications, the largest U.S. cell phone carrier, is suing to overturn new government regulations governing the flow of Internet traffic.
The lawsuit filed Friday in Washington's U.S. Court of Appeals contends the Federal Communications Commission overstepped its authority in setting its so-called "net neutrality" rules last year. The regulations are scheduled to go into effect in two months. They prohibit Internet service providers from discriminating against or giving special treatment to particular online services or content.
That may seem like a good idea, but the FCC had a hard time coming up with a solution that pleases everyone.
Earlier this week, a media and Internet advocacy group sued to block the rules in a Boston federal court. The group, Free Press, objects to a provision that gives cell phone companies some flexibility to manage traffic so their wireless systems aren't overwhelmed.
Verizon Communications Inc. doesn't think the FCC should be involved at all.
"We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority to impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services and on the Internet itself," said Michael Glover, Verizon's general counsel. "We believe this assertion of authority is inconsistent with the statute and will create uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers."
Verizon filed a similar suit against the FCC's regulations earlier this year, but it was thrown out after the court determined the complaint was premature. Since then, the new rules were published in the Federal Register, giving Verizon a new opportunity to mount a challenge.