Court Suspends Briefing Schedule in Net Neutrality Challenge

Companies Need Time beyond Dec. 6 Deadline to Incorporate Court's Ruling on Data Roaming

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has suspended its briefing schedule, including a Dec. 6 filing deadline.

Verizon and MetroPCS had asked for more time and space from the court to make their case against the FCC's network neutrality rules given that the deadline is Thursday, and added that if the court can't decide by then, it should suspend the Dec.6 deadline until it does rule on the request. The court suspended the schedule pending action on the underlying request.

The companies' request was prompted by the decision of that same court Monday in Verizon's challenge to the FCC's data roaming rules Cellco Partnership [Verizon] v. FCC.

In a motion filed with the court Wednesday, Verizon and MetroPCS asked for two more weeks from the current Dec. 6 deadline to file the latest briefs in their network neutrality challenge so they can incorporate this week's roaming decision into their filings, and for 1,000 additional words (the limit is 6,000) for their joint brief and 350 additional words for MetroPCS' separate filing (the limit is 2,000 words).

They point out that the roaming case, in which the court upheld the FCC's application of voice roaming obligations to data, deals with similar issues and was released only two days before the Dec. 6 deadline.

"Among other things, Cellco Partnership addresses the meaning of the Communications Act's bans on common carriage regulation," they pointed out.

"Appellants believe in good faith that they need a brief period of additional time and a modest amount of additional words in order properly to analyze and address the effect of Cellco Partnership on the arguments in their reply briefs and ultimately on the case, so as to provide the Court with a consolidated analysis of the issues that avoids piecemeal briefing."

The court has yet to set a date for oral argument.