Today, telecom giant Verizon will argue in the D.C. Circuit Court that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no power whatsoever to regulate the Internet. The company's lawsuit, Verizon v. FCC, seeks to strip the agency of its ability to review any Internet-related issues, including protections for consumer privacy, redress for fraudulent billing practices, and enforcement of commitments to providing universal broadband access.
Verizon is suing to block enforcement of the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order, which the agency adopted to “preserve the Internet as an open platform enabling consumer choice, freedom of expression, end-user control, competition, and the freedom to innovate without permission.” In other words, the Order requires net neutrality, the rule that prevents Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner Cable from interfering with Internet traffic by slowing down or blocking competitors' sites or apps.
In fighting the Open Internet Order, Verizon is arguing it has a First Amendment right to block and otherwise manage Internet content however the company sees fit — nevermind the First Amendment rights of its millions of users. In a separate petition to the FCC itself, AT&T is also arguing for total deregulation of the Internet. (AT&T's petition is a federal version of state-based deregulation "model legislation" that has popped up across the country thanks to corporate bill mill ALEC, of which AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are members.)
Want to know what the Internet would look like — and cost — if Big Telecom and the cable companies have their way? Check out The Internet Must Go, a new video launching today featuring our Executive Director Rashad Robinson, our friends at Free Press and Public Knowledge, Sen. Al Franken, comedian John Hodgman, and many more.