Verizon to FCC: Free speech trumps Net neutrality rulesJuly 5, 2012
Bring out the constitutional scholars: Verizon says the Federal Communications Commission's Net neutrality rules violate the right to free speech.
In a nutshell, Verizon argues that the FCC has overstepped its authority with its Net neutrality rules, going so far as to argue that the rules are unconstitutional -- Verizon sees the transmission of data across its network as "speech." As if that's not enough, the carrier argues that the rules are "arbitrary and capricious." In other words, Verizon doesn't believe the rules are necessary given that there hasn't been a big problem of companies slowing down traffic or blocking services on their networks.
Verizon laid out its argument in a brief filed yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
In December 2010, the FCC adopted a set of Net neutrality rules in an effort to protect broadband users from having a service provider slow down traffic or block certain content. The agency adopted those rules after it lost a court battle over having penalized cable and broadband provider Comcast for violating its Net neutrality principles. But a federal court said that the FCC had overstepped its bounds in that case.
Once the rules were officially registered with the government in September of last year, Verizon said it planned to file a lawsuit against the FCC challenging the rules and asking the court to overturn them.