Court denies Verizon’s net neutrality appeal, in part

The federal appeals court that Verizon had asked to hear its challenge against the Federal Communications Commission’s new open Internet rules has denied the telecom giant’s request to pick the panel of judges that would hear the case.

Verizon had been hoping to secure the same panel of judges who ruled against the FCC in a landmark net neutrality case last year, vacating the commission’s order punishing Comcast for blocking traffic on its network.

Verizon, who is represented by the same attorney who successfully argued the Comcast case, asked the court to assign the same trio of judged on the grounds that they had unique expertise in the issues in play owing to their experience in last year’s proceeding.

The court has yet to decide whether it will hear the case.

The FCC has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Verizon filed its appeal too soon, that it needed to wait until the FCC’s order it is challenging to appear in the Federal Register. But Verizon argued that the FCC’s order modified the terms of its wireless license, citing the jurisdictional statute that directs the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear all cases pertaining to FCC licenses.

Net neutrality advocates panned the move as a cynical ploy to secure a sympathetic forum for its appeal.

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