Technology

FCC Girds for Legal Attacks on Net Neutrality Order

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler gestures near the end of a hearing for a vote on Net Neutrality, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, at the FCC in Washington. The FCC has agreed to impose strict new regulations on Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. The regulatory agency voted 3-2 Thursday in favor of rules aimed at enforcing what's called "net neutrality." That's the idea that service providers shouldn't intentionally block or slow web traffic, creating paid fast lanes on the Internet. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler gestures near the end of a hearing for a vote on Net Neutrality, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, at the FCC in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

(Computer World) – The Federal Communication Commission’s 400-page official order on net neutrality, released Thursday, will undoubtedly elicit lawsuits on various fronts once it is officially published in the Federal Register.

Attacks are expected to range from whether current law allows the agency to legally act as it has to whether carriers feel they can be treated fairly in setting up services in the future. One of the biggest areas of dispute will likely revolve around the FCC’s new authority to oversee interconnection deals struck between broadband providers like Comcast and content providers like Netflix.

The order was approved by a 3-to-2 vote on Feb. 26, but had already faced months of criticism that it will stifle Internet investment, raise taxes on Internet use and lead to Internet rate regulation. And that’s only for starters.

AT&T has been one of the most vocal critics of the FCC’s order. Moments after the final text came out, the carrier issued a two-sentence condemnation from legislative affairs head Jim Cicconi that showed how broad and deep the industry concerns are likely to be: “Unfortunately, the order released today begins a period of uncertainty that will damage broadband investment in the United States. Ultimately, though, we are confident the issue will be resolved by bipartisan action by Congress or a future FCC, or by the courts.”

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