Well, that didn't take long. Broadband industry trade group USTelecom and a small Texas-based ISP, Alamo Broadband, filed lawsuits challenging the FCC's recently approved net neutrality rules. However, the petitions are likely going to be tossed out for being filed too early.
Verizon Communications, AT&T, Comcast and other carriers and ISPs are likely going to let industry trade associations take up the legal fight against the FCC and sue the agency over its net neutrality rules, according to a Reuters report.
The FCC's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum is scheduled to start in a little under year from now, and many technical rules need to be resolved between now and then. However, wireless carriers and broadcasters seem to be unified on one key issue: They want the FCC to change its plans for dealing with "impaired" spectrum, or spectrum that will have too much interference to be used.
The FCC published its full net neutrality rules and gave wireless carriers insight into three key elements of the regulations: what constitutes "reasonable network management;" how future wireless data practices will be evaluated to make sure they comply with the rules; and why wireless networks are covered in the first place.
Sprint and T-Mobile US seemed cautiously optimistic that the FCC's new net neutrality rules won't harm them and will protect the open Internet, while Verizon and AT&T were dismayed and characterized the FCC's action as misguided.
The FCC is set to vote on final net neutrality rules on Feb. 26, and T-Mobile US and the CTIA are urging the agency to give wireless carriers a great deal of flexibility in designing new service plans and business models.
Last week the largest U.S. wireless carriers agreed to let customers who have fulfilled their contracts unlock their phones and tablets and move to another carrier. Yet according to the consumer advocate who spurred the movement to change unlocking policies, Sprint and T-Mobile US in particular are not fully meeting their six commitments under the new policy.
As part of an agreement between the CTIA and FCC, the nation's largest U.S. wireless carriers agreed to let customers who have fulfilled their contracts unlock their phones and tablets and move to another carrier.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's draft order to create net neutrality rules will apply all of the rules to mobile broadband networks for the first time. One of the practical effects of the proposed rules is that wireless carriers would have less flexibility to deploy "reasonable network management" practices on their networks. The rules would also put future uses of zero-rating and sponsored data programs under the microscope to ensure they are not harming consumers or content providers.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made official what he has been hinting at for around a month: He will introduce a proposal to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act as part of an effort to craft net neutrality rules. Wheeler also clearly stated that the rules will apply to wireless networks.