A federal judge has thrown out both Verizon and MetroPCS’ suits against the FCC over net neutrality, but don’t get your hopes up just yet. The decisions appear to revolve around a technicality: that both companies just filed way too early.
In order for the FCC to be sued over the rules, it must be in the 30 days following its publishing in the Federal Register. That has not happened yet. While the carriers attempted to deal with this issue by saying it was a move to protect its spectrum rights, the court just did not buy that.
Verizon sued the FCC first in January of this year, followed less that a week afterwards by MetroPCS. In both cases, the wireless companies accused the regulatory body of overstepping its bounds and questioning if the FCC has the authority to regulate ISPs’ network management.
The two companies mistake puts them in a conundrum: they can no longer use their current arguments to make their case. However it’s pretty certain that the carriers will find new issues to sue over, and the FCC will still end up in court over its efforts.
Verizon referred to the court’s move as “another procedural step in the process,” while MetroPCS declined to comment due to it being “a legal matter.”
The FCC obviously sang a different tune. “We are pleased the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed with the Commission that Verizon and MetroPCS were premature in challenging the Open Internet framework,” spokesperson Robert Kenny said in a statement. “The Commission’s policy preserves Internet freedom and openness and strikes the right balance for consumers and businesses across America.”