The Federal Communication Commission today asked a federal appeals court in Washington to throw out two wireless telephone companies' challenge to new rules governing Internet access on fixed and wireless networks.
The commission in December adopted three industry-wide regulations governing the provision of Internet service, including a rule that both prohibits wired providers from blocking Internet applications and content and bans wireless Web providers from blocking applications that compete with telephone service.
FCC lawyers, including counsel Joel Marcus, argue in court papers today that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit should dismiss Verizon’s challenge on jurisdictional grounds. The commission’s lawyers said Verizon improperly filed its appeal in advance of publication of the rules in the Federal Register. The D.C. Circuit did not immediately rule on the motion [.pdf]. MetroPCS, represented by Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, filed a separate challenge to the new rules.
Lawyers for Verizon—including Wiley Rein’s Helgi Walker, Samir Jain of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and O’Melveny & Myers’ Walter Dellinger—want the appeals court to assign the case to the same panel that ruled against the commission last year in Comcast Corp. v. FCC.
Verizon’s lawyers said the pending dispute “directly responds” to the D.C. Circuit’s ruling in the earlier Comcast case. In Comcast, the appeals court struck down the commission’s attempt to regulate broadband Internet access services. The company’s attorneys argue “the interests of judicial economy and consistency weigh in favor of that panel hearing this case.”