Policy

Free Press Strikes Flag on Network-Neutrality Challenge

7/16/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

WASHINGTON — Advocacy group Free Press has quietly
dropped its challenge to the Federal Communications
Commission’s network-neutrality rules.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization had been
arguing that those rules did not go far enough, while
the other challengers — Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS
— had a laundry list of reasons why the netneutrality
regime exceeded the FCC’s authority and was
unconstitutional to boot.

Free Press’ brief in the case was due July 2 (as was
the Verizon/MetroPCS brief), but it quietly dropped the
challenge, deciding to shift its focus.

“We felt that there were better ways to accomplish
our goals of promoting Internet freedom, and decided
to direct our resources elsewhere in the continued campaign
to preserve the open Internet,” Free Press policy
director Matt Wood said.

According to someone familiar with the move, the
group had concluded that the argument in the case
would come down to the FCC’s authority to impose the
rules, rather than Free Press’ concerns over where those
rules should apply.

Scott Cleland of Netcompetition.org, an advocacy
group opposed to net-neutrality rules, saw the move as
a fallback to a more defensible position.

“Free Press obviously knows the Appeals Court has
already found in Comcast vs. the FCC that the FCC does
not have regulatory authority over broadband,” he said.

Cable operators aren’t big fans of the rules, but
had a seat at the table when the compromise was
struck.

September