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Cogent, Level 3 Lay Out Net Neutrality Arguments in Appeal

Competitive carriers, public interest groups and Web-based companies this week laid out their arguments in federal court to support open Internet regulations that were adopted in February by the Federal Communications Commission.

“The FCC Order will help preserve an Internet unfettered from interference from the gatekeeper power of the companies that provide consumers with access to it,” the companies declared in a joint brief that was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

A diverse group, including Cogent Communications, Dish Network, and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, argue the FCC’s Net neutrality regulations should be upheld. Joining them in the brief are Comptel, Level 3 Communications, Netflix, Public Knowledge, Union Square Ventures and Vimeo, among others.

The FCC’s regulations – which prevent blocking, slowing down or paid prioritization of lawful Web traffic – took effect in June.

"Contrary to claims that the sky would fall, Open Internet protections have proven to be a free market driver,” CompTel CEO Chip Pickering said in a statement in conjunction with the filing of the Sept. 21 joint brief. “Indeed, stocks for incumbent and competitive networks and Internet companies are all maintaining and increasing in value. The rules benefit the entire Internet ecosystem and continued growth of this sector remains a catalyst for our economy. With the adoption of strong open Internet policy, the sun, sky and tech sector are still rising.”

But in lawsuits filed to overturn the FCC’s Open Internet order, various telecom and cable interests – including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) – argue the FCC lacked authority to regulate the broadband industry under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The Title II decision, they contend, threats to burden a broadband industry that has invested well over $1 trillion since 1996.

“This appeal is not about Net neutrality,” former FCC Chairman Michael Powell of NCTA said earlier this year in a statement, “but the FCC’s unnecessary action to apply outdated utility style regulation to the most innovative network in our history."

Oral arguments are scheduled in the case for Dec. 4, 2015, before the appeals court.


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