Internet Providers Ask for Time on Net Neutrality Challenge

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By Alexis Kramer (Bloomberg BNA)

Trade groups representing AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and other broadband providers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a 60-day extension to request review of a decision upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules ( United States Telecom Assoc. v. FCC , U.S., application for extension of time filed 7/10/17 ).

The groups want the deadline extended until Sept. 28 because FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has begun the process for rewriting the rules, they said July 10 in a court filing. The Obama-era rules prohibit broadband providers from blocking or slowing internet traffic in most circumstances.

The request came two days before a planned online protest July 12 against Pai’s plan. Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook Inc. are among the 70,000 websites and organizations that have pledged to participate, according to Bloomberg News.

The FCC is seeking public comments on proposals on a lighter-touch regulatory framework. “Depending on how the Commission responds to the comments, the rulemaking has the potential to moot applicants’ challenges” to the existing rules, the trade groups said.

An FCC spokesman declined to comment.

The groups said that the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upholding the existing rules “exceeds the scope” of the FCC’s authority to regulate internet traffic. They also alleged that the FCC violated principles of administrative law.

“The Commission has effectively arrogated to itself plenary, unprecedented jurisdiction to heavily regulate the Internet, not only without any clear statutory mandate, but also in the face of numerous statutory provisions designed to keep the Internet lightly regulated,” the groups said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexis Kramer in Washington at aKramer@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com (Bloomberg BNA); Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net (Bloomberg); Elizabeth Wasserman (Bloomberg)

[With assistance from Todd Shields (Bloomberg)]

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