Rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in February regarding net neutrality were published in the Federal Register yesterday, opening the door for telecommunications companies to file lawsuits challenging them. The rules will go into effect on June 12. The Los Angeles Times reports that several trade groups representing major telecom companies such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have already filed suit. The FCC passed the rules in an effort to prevent Internet providers from promoting or limiting users' access to certain information by either speeding up, slowing down or blocking access to websites depending on who owns them or what information they may provide.
The idea is that these companies may face incentives for these practices for various reasons, including to promote their own sites and information sources, and that this could limit the free-flow of information via the Internet. According to the Times, the FCC attempts to prevent this by classifying broadband companies as a "more highly regulated telecommunications service." The Washington Post reports that they will be regulated using the same tools originally designed for telephone companies. The trade groups have balked at the rules as too onerous and likely to chill innovation, according to the Post. The suits are currently pending in the D.C. Circuit Court. The Post article has links to petitions from the major trade groups.