FCC denies requests from AT&T, CenturyLink, others to delay implementing net neutrality rules

The FCC has denied petitions from a group of service providers and industry groups to suspend the regulator's net neutrality rules from going into effect on June 12.

On Friday, the FCC denied petitions for a stay of its net neutrality rules from Daniel Berninger, founder of the nonprofit Voice Communication Exchange Committee, the American Cable Association, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, USTelecom, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL).

These groups asked the FCC to delay the rules from going into effect while courts deal with seven lawsuits challenging the rules.

AT&T and CenturyLink, which took part in the joint petition with USTelecom, have been the most ardent service providers opposed to the rules.

While fellow telco Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is working with USTelecom and other telecom industry trade groups, AT&T and CenturyLink in April filed their own complaints suing the FCC.  

Despite the challenges, the FCC said in its order (.pdf) that its decision to reclassify ISPs as common carriers "falls well within the Commission's statutory authority, is consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and fully complies with the Administrative Procedure Act."

Ajit Pai, who cast one of the two dissenting votes against the net neutrality rules in February, said in a statement that there are six regional providers including wireless ISPs and smaller fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) providers that are reducing their network investments because of the FCC's net neutrality decision.

"When it comes to broadband, American consumers want greater competition, faster speeds, more deployment, and lower prices," Pai said in a statement. "But the FCC's decision two months ago to adopt President Obama's plan to regulate the Internet is already having precisely the opposite effect."

Among those providers that say they are being affected by the new rules is Joink, a service provider that currently serves 2,500 customers in and around Terre Haute, Ind. Although Joink was exploring a FTTH project in its community, it said the regulatory uncertainty that's emerged from the new rules "will cause us to slow this investment, or not make it at all"--and so, consumers "will be left with slower broadband speeds."

For more:
- see the FCC filing (.pdf)
- PC World has this article

Related articles:
CenturyLink, AT&T join USTelecom in asking for stay on net neutrality order
CenturyLink sues the FCC over net neutrality rules
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