Federal Communications Commission rules designed to ensure that mobile-phone customers can access the Internet wherever they go are being challenged in court by Verizon Wireless, which accuses the agency of overstepping its regulatory authority.
Under new rules adopted in April by the agency, national carriers such as AT&T and Verizon must negotiate “data roaming” agreements with competitors on a timely basis, and under "commercially reasonable terms and conditions." The goal is to guarantee that wireless broadband connectivity is accessible when customers use their phones outside the service territories of their carriers.
The agency already has separate regulations governing roaming agreements for phone calls.
In a May 13 appeal filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Verizon argues that the data roaming rules are “in excess of the commission’s statutory authority.” Verizon insists the requirements treat mobile-broadband providers as a public utility, and that such regulation falls outside the agency’s jurisdiction.
That same argument has been used by Verizon and other critics of network-neutrality regulations adopted by the commission in December that are intended to promote unfettered access to the Internet.
FCC officials were not immediately available for comment.
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