Did somebody say “lawsuit”?
Verizon is gearing up for a fight over the government’s latest net neutrality plan, which could impose stricter rules on Internet service providers than a previous net neutrality order that Verizon also sued over.
Verizon sued to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s 2010 Open Internet Order, forcing the FCC to try again. The commission tentatively approved rules in May that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking or degrading traffic from third-party Web services while allowing “fast lane” deals in which companies could pay for faster access to consumers.
But after protest from consumer advocates, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is reportedly close to proposing rules in which ISPs would be treated as utilities. This wouldn’t outlaw fast lane or “paid prioritization” deals but would make it easier for the government to block arrangements deemed harmful to consumers. In a blog post today, Verizon General Counsel Randal Milch said the plan “fairly guarantees litigation.”
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