Wireless carrier Verizon Wireless had previously argued that FCC regulations on data roaming imposed traditional landline telephone obligations on data services illegally. The FCC regulations stipulated that Verizon and its competitors had to offer data roaming to their competitors on a nondiscriminatory basis. Verizon Wireless took the FCC to a federal appeals court trying to have the regulations overturned.
That federal appeals court has now upheld the FCC’s data roaming regulations and denied Verizon’s claims. The opinion of the three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit was unanimous and upheld the FCC decision to extend “voice roaming” requirements to wireless firms did not violate the rights of the carriers. Verizon had argued that the FCC lacked the legal authority to make such a decision.
The appeals court judges noted that the FCC regulations bared some “marks of common carriage” but the appeals judges also noted that “we deferred to the commission’s determination the rule imposes no common carrier obligations on mobile Internet providers.” The court also noted that the FCC regulations were not unconstitutional, arbitrary, or capricious. The judges on the appeals court also found no validity in arguments made by Verizon that the FCC lacked the legal authority to impose these regulations.
Verizon wireless argued that the new FCC regulations on data roaming were prohibited by the Communications Act. All three Appeals Court judges disagreed with Verizon’s claims. What Verizon was fighting was FCC regulations forcing the nation’s largest carrier to open its network to smaller regional carriers to allow them to compete on a national marketplace.