FCC wants quick court decision on net neutrality

FCC wants quick court decision on net neutrality
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The Federal Communications Commission and those trying to kill its new net neutrality rules agree on at least one thing: The court should make quick work of the case.

The FCC on Friday filed a brief urging the court not to put the agency's newly approved net neutrality rules on hold while the broader legal challenges are worked out. 

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But the FCC agreed with another motion by Internet service providers — like AT&T and CenturyLink — to expedite the case, so it can be resolved as soon as possible. 

"Although petitioners have not met the standard for a stay, we believe that the public would be served by the Court’s expedited consideration of this case," The FCC said in a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. 

A group of companies and advocates supportive of the new Internet rules made similar arguments in their own legal filing.  

The bulk of the FCC's 42-page filing was meant to undermine arguments from opponents who have called to delay the rules before they are slated to take effect on June 12. 

The agency argued critics of the rules failed to show a likelihood of success challenging the new regulations and that their claims of irreparable harm are "too conjectural, uncertain, or hypothetical."

"The decision to reclassify broadband as offering a telecommunications service is consistent with the marketplace today and necessary to fulfill the goals of an open Internet," according to the FCC. 

In February, the FCC approved controversial new rules that would reclassify broadband Internet as a "telecommunications service" — authority that covers traditional telephone service. The change was made to enforce rules that prevent service providers from blocking, throttling or forcing payment to speed up the Internet traffic of any website. The FCC also added a general conduct standard to guard against other forms of abuse. 

Trade groups and service providers have pushed for a stay of the general conduct standard and reclassification, which would leave the three other rules in place while the broader challenge is decided. 

But the FCC argues each piece is dependent on the other, citing the court's opinion last year regarding previous net neutrality rules.  

"Petitioners’ stay motion is not what it seems," the FCC wrote. 

It added: "Those bright-line rules are precisely the kind of regulation this Court held could not be applied until and unless broadband was reclassified as a 'telecommunications service.'"

There is less than a month before the new rules take effect, and net neutrality critics want the court to decide on their motion for a stay before the rules take effect. The court has ordered another round of responses by Thursday.