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Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 01/25/2011

Metro PCS follows Verizon in suing FCC to overturn net neutrality rules

By Cecilia Kang

Wireless service operator MetroPCS said Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules. The suit was filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that cast the FCC's regulatory over broadband services into question last spring.

The company has been the subject of criticism by consumer groups who say MetroPCS's 4G pricing plans purposefully block certain applications, a violation of the FCC's Internet access rules. The suit follows a similar legal challenge made last week by Verizon Communications and is expected to be part of a flood of lawsuits against the agency.

“MetroPCS’s concerns regarding the jurisdictional basis for the net neutrality rules, the recent appeal filed by Verizon, and challenges raised by some proponents of Net Neutrality to MetroPCS’ recent 4G rate plans, have caused Metro PCS to appeal the FCC’s net neutrality order to ensure that the concerns of competitive wireless carriers, like MetroPCS, are addressed.” Roger D. Linquist, MetroPCS's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The FCC declined to comment about the lawsuit.

The move follows a similar lawsuit in the same court filed last week by Verizon Communications. Verizon asked in its suit for the same three judges who last April overturned sanctions by the FCC against Comcast, saying the agency overstepped its authority over broadband services.

Internet access rules for wireless service providers are significantly lighter than those for fixed-wire service operators. But MetroPCS has been criticized for its new high-speed Internet plans that appear to dictate what applications are accessible to consumers for certain pricing plans. Those plans could exclude voice applications such as Skype and Vonage, which would violate the FCC's rules, consumer groups complain.

"We note the Metro PCS challenge may been triggered at least in part by recent public-interest group charges that Metro PCS’s restricted Web access offering at a low rate violated Open Internet principles," said Rebecca Arbogast, head of tech policy research at Stifel Nicolaus.

MetroPCS refutes the criticism and has promised to respond to the allegation in a letter to the FCC next month.

Arbogast said that once the FCC rules are formally processed in the federal registry, advocates of the regulation will likely file challenges in several other circuit courts "in order to trigger a court lottery that would reduce the chances the D.C. Circuit hears the case."

Related stories:
FCC rules spark claims of net neutrality violations

Verizon moves to overturn FCC's net neutrality rules

By Cecilia Kang  | January 25, 2011; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  FCC, Net Neutrality  
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Comments

Cecilia Kang, Google's reporter and lobbyist at The Post, once again prints a biased account. Not only do all of the third party comments fall on one side of the issue (Google's!), but she labels the groups which are lobbying for Google's regulatory agenda as "public interest" groups when in fact they are supported by Google and hence are truly corporate lobbyists.

We outside the Beltway have always known that DC's corrupt culture too often allows corporate lobbyists to rule the roost, but it continues to amaze us that newspapers like The Post will tolerate it when they unethically lobby for the interests of their advertisers on The Post's own pages.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | January 25, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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