Arbitrary distinction between wired and wireless Internet access has no basis, says public interest group
The Federal Communication Commission’s new Open Internet regulations, set to go live by 20 November, has hit roadblocks in the form of anticipated lawsuit, the first one from public interest group Free Press.
Earlier this week, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) made new Net neutrality rules official, placing restrictions on broadband providers from favouring or discriminating against traffic that travels through their networks.
The new regulations allow the FCC to punish broadband providers which slow down service or restrict content for customers. The new rules will go into effect on 20 November.
In its report, Preserving the Open Internet, the FCC said that it had initiated a public process to determine whether and what actions might be necessary "to preserve the characteristics that have allowed the Internet to grow into an indispensable platform supporting our nation’s economy and civic life, and to foster continued investment in the physical networks that enable the Internet."
The new laws were expected to be opposed by service providers such as Verizon and MetroPCS. Some ISPs believe that the marketplace should be allowed to decide the services they provide to customers based on the revenue the services generate.
However, the first lawsuit has come from Free Press, which filed a petition for review in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on Wednesday, challenging the new Internet rules, according to Reuters.
Free Press objects provisions of the rules that allow wireless broadband to be more flexible compared to that of wired one.
Free Press said, "The disparity that the FCC’s rules create is unjust and unjustified. And it’s especially problematic because of the increasing popularity of wireless, along with its increasing importance for younger demographics and diverse populations who rely on mobile devices as their primary means for getting online."
"Our challenge will show that there is no evidence in the record to justify this arbitrary distinction between wired and wireless Internet access," said Matt Wood, policy director for Free Press.
An FCC spokesman has said that they will "vigorously oppose any effort to disrupt or unsettle" the new rules.
"Since its adoption, the Commission’s open internet framework has brought certainty and predictability, stimulating increased innovation and investment across the broadband economy, including mobile networks and apps."