November 26, 2014
Verizon now says it will not sue the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality rules as long as broadband providers are not reclassified as utilities. However, Verizon did sue the FCC (and won) the last time net neutrality rules were introduced, which is one reason the FCC is presently considering reclassifying broadband. “We are going to be sued,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week. In response, Verizon EVP Randal Milch e-mailed that Verizon would not sue if the FCC uses Section 706.
Milch’s email is in contrast to comments he made in a blog post earlier this month, in which he “described what sort of rules the FCC needs to adopt to avoid getting dragged into court,” according to Forbes.
“In 2010, the FCC issued rules preventing Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against traffic by relying on Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, rather than the stronger powers the FCC has under Title II, which covers utilities or ‘common carriers,’” Ars Technica reports.
“Verizon sued and won, with a federal appeals court stating that the FCC could not issue what amounted to common carrier rules without first reclassifying broadband service as a utility, similar to the traditional phone network.”
In the latest e-mail made public earlier this week, Milch wrote that rules based on Section 706 “will not be the object of a successful court challenge — by Verizon or anyone else.”
Now that Verizon seems to support net neutrality rules based on 706, the company may regret its earlier decision to block the FCC’s first attempt at net neutrality rules.
“Verizon’s fellow ISPs wish the same,” suggests Ars Technica. “AT&T and Comcast reportedly tried to convince Verizon not to sue over the 2010 rules. ISPs are reportedly furious with Verizon now that it’s ‘victory’ in court could backfire in a spectacular way for all broadband providers.”