Court Sets Briefing Schedule for Net Neutrality Challenge


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit has set a briefing schedule for Verizon and MetroPCS' challenge of the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules, and that schedule suggests there won't be a decision until sometime in 2013.

According to a copy of the schedule, released Friday, initial briefs are due July 2, with final briefs due Nov. 21. One attorney following the case says that signals oral arguments in the January-February time frame.

The parties had agreed on a briefing schedule in April, which they submitted to the court.

The court essentially approved that schedule.

The court also agreed to let MetroPCS file a separate reply brief. They had asked for the dual briefs because Verizon and MetroPCS are on opposite sides in a separate challenge to FCC data roaming rules (though the two also want to file a joint brief as well). In that challenge, Verizon and MetroPCS disagree over the FCC's authority to regulate wireless broadband, which is also at issue in the network neutrality rules challenge.

Free Press will also get to file a separate reply brief since it opposes the FCC for entirely different reasons.

It says the rules don't go far enough, not too far as the others contend.

In a challenge launched in January 2011, Verizon argues that the FCC's Dec. 21, 2010, order exceeds its authority, is arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of its discretion, and is unconstitutional as well. It asks that the FCC vacate the order and "provide such additional relief as may be appropriate."