Two suits challenge FCC’s net neutrality rules

Two lawsuits were filed this week challenging the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, under which Internet service providers will be regulated in the same manner as traditional telephone companies, which were adopted last month amid questions about the circumstances surrounding their consideration.

USTelecom, a telecom industry trade group, and Alamo Broadband, Inc., a Texas-based internet service provider, filed separate lawsuits against the agency nearly a month after it ruled that providers treat all Internet traffic equally.

USTelecom filed its suit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which has rejected the FCC's two previous attempts at net neutrality regulations over the past decade.

Jon Banks, USTelecom's senior vice president, said Monday the group's blog that his organization's lawsuit would not focus on the FCC's rules prohibiting blocking or throttling traffic.

"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," Bank said.

Alamo Broadband said that it is "aggrieved" and "possesses standing to challenge" the agency's order, according to the Washington Post's copy of the petition the company filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.

Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom, a free market think tank, said in a media statement that the lawsuits are "only the opening salvo in what could be a decade of litigation."

Two other industry trade groups, CTIA-The Wireless Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, are also expected to file lawsuits challenging the FCC's order.

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