"The focus of our legal appeal will be on the FCC's decision to reclassify broadband Internet access service as a public utility service after a decade of amazing innovation and investment under the FCC's previous light-touch approach. As our industry has said many times, we do not block or throttle traffic and FCC rules prohibiting blocking or throttling will not be the focus of our appeal," said a statement from USTelecom Senior Vice President Jon Banks.
USTelecom says it supports open Internet rules, but disagrees with the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet providers as common carriers in the order adopted March 12.
"As we have said throughout this debate, our member companies conduct their business in conformance with the open Internet principles, and support their enactment into law. However, we also support a regulatory approach that relies upon Section 706 authority of the Communications Act, and we do not believe the Federal Communications Commission’s move to utility-style regulation invoking Title II authority is legally sustainable," said USTelecom President Walter McCormick.
Today’s filing ensures that USTelecom can make these arguments through the appellate process, McCormick said. The filing ensures that the association’s right to appeal the open Internet order would not be blocked. If the court determines that the trigger date is 10 days after publication in the Federal Register, USTelecom will file an appeal at that time.
FCC's new rules, approved in February and posted online on March 12, treat both wireless and wireline Internet service providers as more heavily regulated "telecommunications services," more like traditional telephone companies.
Broadband providers are banned under the rules from blocking or slowing any traffic and from striking deals with content companies for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers.
FCC officials have said they were prepared for lawsuits and the new rules were on much firmer legal ground than previous iterations.