Google, along with other tech industry supporters of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations mandating net neutrality, is urging a federal court to side with the FCC in a suit brought by Internet service providers Verizon and MetroPCS.
That suit, brought in the wake of the FCC’s controversial order mandating net neutrality issued in late 2010, asserts that the FCC did not have the legal authority required to institute net neutrality rules. In addition, it claims that the FCC lacked evidence to indicate that net neutrality was necessary.
Verizon has also said that net neutrality rules violate the company’s First Amendment rights.
The Google filing disputes both arguments and seeks to buttress the FCC’s case in favor of net neutrality, which free market technology experts have criticized as pushing the Internet to be treated as more of a “commons” or “utility,” and as risking diminishing quality of service and limiting the incentives for investment in broadband technology.
Google has long been a supporter of net neutrality, for reasons grounded in business interest as much as its stated commitment to the principle of “openness.” As a content provider, net neutrality is commercially beneficial to Google, despite the regulation having some very significant downsides both from the perspective of consumers who benefit from service providers having a freer hand when it comes to network management, and from the perspective of those who favor less regulation, stronger property rights, and freer markets.
In 2010, the D.C. Court of Appeals, with which Verizon’s case is pending, ruled against the FCC with respect to an attempt to enforce net neutrality in relation to Comcast.