FCC urges court to uphold network neutrality rules


Source: Hill, The
Author: Brendan Sasso
Coverage Type: reporting
Location:
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 333 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20001, United States

The Federal Communications Commission urged a federal appeals court to uphold its network neutrality order, one of the signature achievements of Chairman Julius Genachowski's tenure.

In a 121 page filing, the FCC called Verizon's challenge to the rules "baseless" and argued that it acted within its legal authority when it enacted the rules in late 2010. The FCC’s network neutrality regulations prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against legitimate websites. Verizon has sued the FCC, arguing that the agency is trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist. The company asked the court to overturn the rules on the grounds that they are "arbitrary and capricious." But in its filing, the FCC argued that network neutrality is critical for protecting an open and vibrant Internet. "A service provider could prevent an end user from accessing Netflix, or the New York Times, or even this Court’s own website, unless the website paid the provider to allow customer access," the FCC warned. The agency said that without the rules, "the next Google or Facebook might never begin." The FCC argued that companies like Verizon, which offer voice and video services in addition to broadband Internet, have an incentivize to block competing websites like Skype or Netflix.

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