AT&T joins industry groups in suing the FCC over net neutrality rules

AT&T (NYSE: T) has filed its own lawsuit against the FCC to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, illustrating that it wants to take a different path from its fellow telco brothers like Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and cable operators that are working with trade associations like USTelecom and NCTA.  

Like Verizon's move to get the previous rules overturned, AT&T's move shows that it wants to wage its own war against the net neutrality effort.

Similar to the lawsuits filed by the ACA, CTIA, NCTA and USTelecom, AT&T is also claiming the FCC's rules are "arbitrary and capricious" and violate federal law.

AT&T's suit was filed on the same day that the National Cable and Telecommunications Association filed its own lawsuit against the FCC's net neutrality rules.

While the battle against the FCC's net neutrality are focused on the new rules the agency passed in late February, AT&T has been fighting such laws for over 10 years. Former CEO Ed Whitcare threatened Google in 2005 that he would not let Google use his pipes for free.

The FCC has remained undeterred about the possibility of AT&T or others filing suit against its new rules. In February, the regulator said it had the legal authority to support its decision to declare telecommunications providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

For its part, AT&T has argued it's an information service, meaning it should not be beholden to common carrier rules.

Besides the industry trade groups, a number of Republican lawmakers are moving ahead with a Resolution of Disapproval as a way to wipe out the FCC's net neutrality rules. What the resolution of disapproval does is allow Congress to review and possibly overturn new federal regulations from government agencies using an expedited legislative process.

There is a catch to this process. The resolution needs to be either signed by the president or passed over by a president's veto by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress. President Obama has been an ardent supporter of the Title II measure.

Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said in a statement that a resolution (.pdf) "would be the quickest way to stop heavy-handed agency regulations that would slow Internet speeds, increase consumer prices and hamper infrastructure development."

For more:
- here's a copy of the lawsuit

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