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Net Neutrality Fans File 'Insurance' Motion in Court Challenge

A number of public interest groups have filed motions to intervene in Verizon and MetroPCS' challenges to the FCC's new network neutrality rules to preserve their rights to challenge those suits if they make it to trial.

Free Press is representing itself, while Media Access Project is representing Media Mobilizing Project, Access Humboldt and Mountain Area Information Network.

While the groups believe those suits were improperly filed and should be thrown out, they are hedging their bets in case that is not the case. "We hope the DC Circuit recognizes that the companies' suits are brought improperly and dismisses them, but we're filing today to preserve our rights to challenge the appeals if they're not dismissed outright."

Verizon and MetroPCS are challenging the rules as a modification of their wireless licenses, rather than as regulatory changes. Using that legal route, the case must be heard in the same D.C. Federal Appeals court that found the FCC's defense of its Internet access regulatory authority wanting and threw out its finding against Comcast in the BitTorrent Case. Had the companies been challenging the regs, they would have had to wait until the rules are published in the federal register, which won't happen until May at the earliest because the regs must first be vetted by OMB to make sure they do not create unnecessary new paperwork.

The FCC has asked the D.C. Federal Appeals Court to reject the challenges to its network neutrality rules by Verizon and MetroPCS, saying both were premature.