The accusations came in a brief that Verizon filed jointly with MetroPCS in federal court in support of their challenges to the Net Neutrality ruling.
“The FCC has acted without statutory authority to insert itself into this crucial segment of the American economy, while failing to show any factual need to do so,” the parties wrote in a preliminary statement to the filing.
In the 116-page brief, Verizon and MetroPCS argue that the Net Neutrality rules:
- Violate the Communications Act
- Exceed the commission’s statutory authority
- Violate the First and Fifth Amendments
- Are arbitrary and capricious
Verizon has been perhaps the most vocal opponent of Net Neutrality guidelines. Initially AT&T was equally vocal in its opposition but the company was much less strident at the time of the ruling – most likely because it was in the middle of trying to gain FCC approval for its planned purchase of T-Mobile, which ultimately was not approved.
MetroPCS, on the other hand, was dragged into the Net Neutrality arena when consumer groups charged that some of the company’s pricing policies might be in violation of Net Neutrality guidelines.
This isn’t the first time Verizon has made a laundry list of charges against the Net Neutrality concept. The company used a similar approach back in early 2010 when the rules were still under consideration. At that time, too, Verizon argued that Net Neutrality was a violation of free speech because “broadband networks are the microphones over which providers speak.”
But although that particular argument may be a stretch, Verizon and MetroPCS are wise to attack Net Neutrality guidelines on multiple fronts. Some previous court decisions involving Net Neutrality – notably the Comcast decision — have been inconclusive because the court said parties involved failed to address certain issues.
An FCC spokesman told Hillicon Valley that the commission looks “forward to defending our open Internet rules in court.”
According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the FCC has prevailed in 15 of 16 of the most recent challenges to its authority.