CenturyLink Sues FCC Over Open Internet Order

Calls Them Misguided Investment Chillers From Bygone Era

CenturyLink has added its voice to the chorus of legal challengers to the FCC's Title II rules.

Challengers have until April 23 to file challenges if they want to participate in a possible second lottery to determine which court hears the case.

While phone association USTelecom (CenturyLink is a member) and Alamo Broadband have already filed suit in different appeals court, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, by lottery, has consolidated the appeals in the D.C. Circuit, it is possible those two suites could be ruled premature, since they were filed before publication in the Register.

If that is a case, there would be a second lottery.

USTelecom president Walter McCormick signaled earlier this week that some of his members might file individually.

"CenturyLink invests hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build, maintain and update an open Internet network and does not block or degrade lawful content," the company said in filing the suit. "However, the FCC has chosen to subjugate the Internet to government-controlled public utility regulations from the 1930s. These regulations not only have no place in the 21st century economy, but will chill innovation and investment. We are challenging the FCC's misguided net neutrality order for these reasons and because we believe it could lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers."

In addition to USTelecom and Alamo, CenturyLink joins the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, CTIA- The Wireless Association, the American Cable Association (which CenturyLink is also a member of) and AT&T in suing the commission.

The principle argument being made by legal challengers is not with the no-blocking or no paid prioritization rules, which they argue they aren't doing anyway, but with reclassifying ISP's as common carriers to legally sustain — or as these companies would argue, again fail to legally sustain — Open Internet rules.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler reiterated Friday that he thought the FCC was on strong legal footing and would win in court.