Cable groups not coordinating on potential Web rule lawsuit

The Federal Communications Commission might be facing a series of separate lawsuits over its new net neutrality regualtions, rather than one major legal action.

Matt Polka, the head of the American Cable Association — which represents small- and medium-sized cable — told reporters on Wednesday that “literally all of our options are on the table" to respond to the rules, but said that he was not coordinating with others who are also eyeing a lawsuit. 

“Litigation is a potential strategy for us,” he said during his trade group’s annual summit.

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However, "we’re looking at these issues on our own,” he said. “We’re not working in concert with any other groups.”

Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week voted to issue tough net neutrality rules that treat Internet service like a public utility. The move came over the heated objections from Republicans and cable companies who say the rules are outside the commission’s authority and will saddle firms with outdated rules that could lead to worse service for consumers.

In addition to the American Cable Association, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association — the industry’s major lobbying group — appears to be also actively eyeing a lawsuit

Net neutrality is the notion that every user of the Internet should have equal and unfettered access to every corner of the Web. 

Before anyone can file a lawsuit, the FCC first has to formally issue the rules. That hasn’t happened yet because of the formal regulatory process involved in writing all of the legal arguments, and it might be weeks until the regulations make their way to the public.

Republicans have lambasted the FCC for refusing to release the rules ahead of time, which would be a break from its normal operations.  

In addition to filing a lawsuit against the rules, Polka also said that the group might call for the FCC to reconsider those rules and urged Congress to act and replace them. GOP lawmakers have for months been working on legislation to enact some net neutrality protections, but have yet to find any Democrats willing to sign on to the effort.