AT&T Inc and three cable and wireless trade groups filed separate lawsuits on Tuesday challenging the US Federal Communications Commission over its new web traffic regulations.
AT&T is the first large telecom player to individually appeal against the FCC’s so-called “net neutrality rules.” The suit comes even as the second largest US wireless company’s proposed $48.5 billion acquisition of satellite TV operator DirecTV is under FCC review.
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, CTIA-The Wireless Association and American Cable Association also filed lawsuits in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. USTelecom trade group filed a similar lawsuit on Monday. AT&T’s challenge follows one by smaller Internet provider Alamo Broadband Inc in the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans last month.
Approved in February and posted online on March 12, the FCC’s new rules treat Internet service providers as more heavily regulated “telecommunications services,” more like traditional telephone companies.
AT&T and the groups in their filings said the rules were “arbitrary, capricious”. The new rules prevent broadband providers from blocking or slowing any Internet traffic and from striking deals with content companies for smoother delivery to consumers. AT&T and other Internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast have decried the rules stating that they would thwart investment and innovation.