Federal court sets fast-track schedule for net neutrality challenges

A U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit has set the schedule to hear challenges from telcos and industry organizations over the FCC's net neutrality rules that went into effect earlier this month.

Traditional ILECs, cable operators and industry organizations such as US Telecom will have to submit their opening briefs, which are not exceed 20,000 words, by July 30.

Supporters and those opposed to the net neutrality rules have asked for an expedited process to hear legal arguments.

The FCC will have until Sept. 16 to respond, followed by briefs from net neutrality supporters on Sept. 21. This will be followed by another round of briefs from the case's petitions on Oct. 5 and final briefs will be due by Oct. 13.

After the briefs are filed, the court will hear associated oral arguments. It is expected that the court will provide its decision on the case early next year.

While service provider petitioners are willing to comply with the FCC's rules against blocking, throttling or paid prioritization, they are challenging the legal merits of reclassifying them under Title II of the Communications Act. They are also challenging the FCC's ability to enforce interconnection agreements between carriers.

Since the rules went into effect, only one net neutrality complaint had been filed against Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC). In that case, San Diego, Calif.-based Commercial Network Services (CNS) told the FCC that it's being charged unfair rates to deliver its streaming video service to consumers.

For more:
- Broadcasting and Cable has this article
- The Hill has this article

Related articles:
Internet access neither 'necessity nor a human right,' FCC's O'Rielly says in live-streamed panel
FCC's new net neutrality order could drive up pole attachment rates for cable MSOs
Net neutrality rules effective today as federal court denies AT&T, CenturyLink request for stay