AT&T, CenturyLink and Other telecom groups want to block new Internet rules
On Friday, AT&T, CenturyLink and the US telecom and cable industry groups have called for regulators to block parts of new rules for Internet service providers, citing ‘crushing’ compliance costs and threats to investment.
The industry in filings with the Federal Communications Commission has not asked for a suspension of the principal ‘net neutrality’ rules. The rules which ban Internet providers from blocking and slowing down web traffic or from striking deals with content companies for smoother download, have been criticized by technology experts.
Rather, the groups and companies wants to block the agency's move to reclassify broadband Internet as a more heavily regulated telecommunications service, and a new broad general conduct standard prohibiting Internet providers from ‘unreasonably interfering’ with consumers' access to the web.
Although the requests are expected to be rejected by the FCC, yet they have paved the way for the industry to ask courts to pause the implementation of the rules while they are being litigated. The new regulations will be going into effect on June 12.
After a year of strong debate over how to best regulate Internet service providers, now the FCC has faced many industry lawsuits over the proposed rules in different courts. It is still unclear that which court will finally get to hear the arguments.
On Thursday, the FCC asked the transfer of pending cases to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. This court has twice rejected its previous versions of net neutrality rules but confirmed its authority to set Internet regulations previous year.
Earlier, the cable and wireless companies argued that they didn't oppose the principles of net neutrality, including no blocking of any traffic, but rejected the tighter regulatory regime. Friday's filings have offered the most specific details yet of the arguments they are expected to make in court.
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