White House threatens to veto Republican challenge to network neutrality

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The FCC has won the latest round in its battle to introduce new net neutrality laws, but now faces a challenge from House Republicans.

The FCC yesterday succeeded in persuading a federal appeals court to throw out two lawsuits challenging its net neutrality rules.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed lawsuits filed by Verizon and MetroPCS. It agreed with the FCC, which had claimed the suits were premature as the rules had not yet been published in the Federal Register.

The decision won't stop Verizon and MetroPCS from filing their suits once the time comes, but does buy the FCC a little more time.

Unfortunately for the FCC, though, it faces opposition from another front. The House Rules Committee yesterday resolved by a seven-to-three vote to debate the rules this week and take a vote on Thursday.

The resolution reads: "Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Union that Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices (Report and Order FCC 10–201, adopted by the Commission on December 21, 2010), and such rule shall have no force or effect."

The new rules would prevent internet companies from discriminating against certain content providers and slowing their connections.

However, the White House is sticking to president Barack Obama's pre-election promise to support net neutrality, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has said that the president will veto any resolution that fails to ensure a 'free and open' internet.