Verizon Challenges FCC Internet Regulation

Verizon is gearing up for a fight, preparing to challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules in a Washington, D.C. courtroom.

Here’s the back story: In 2010, the FCC issued an order to ensure open access to the Internet. It prevented ISPs from controlling which websites are viewed, and which are not. Otherwise, a company like Verizon might only allow websites that pay to be accessed through its Internet service.

Today, Verizon, the biggest U.S. carrier, is arguing Internet businesses are taking up too much bandwidth, relying on Verizon to create a more complex infrastructure to handle the demand. Meanwhile, the companies are not paying for the privilege. In Verizon’s opinion, these companies should not have a place on their users’ Internet if they don’t give something in return.

The FCC and other experts believe the Internet should be regulated, or else the carriers in control will run their services like a cable company. ISPs could begin to bundle content, and sell them to their users in packages.

“Left to its own devices, it would like to be akin to a pay television provider, providing private carriage and ‘cable-izing’ Internet access,” Susan Crawford, a tech policy expert and professor at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, wrote in her blog that.

Many are wondering whether a change in Internet regulation is inevitable. Will open access last? Even if the FCC manages to fend off Verizon now, ISPs still may have the authority to control what users can and cannot access through their services in the future.