FCC Backs Net Neutrality Against Recent Lawsuits

     (CN) – The Federal Communications Commission filed motions on Friday to dismiss what it calls “premature” lawsuits from Verizon and, more recently, MetroPCS over net neutrality.




     The FCC’s three filings in the D.C. Circuit note that its December Open Internet order has not yet been filed in the Federal Register, so the telecommunications companies’ challenges are premature.
     Verizon Communications was the first wireless service provider to challenge the FCC’s rules on jurisdictional grounds, arguing that the commission lacks statutory authority to dictate bandwidth allocation.
     MetroPCS followed suit days later. The company, which is the fifth largest wireless service provider, is the only one, so far, to charge for different levels of Internet bandwidth access with its $40, $50 and $60 service plans. Internet video content provider YouTube pays a premium to MetroPCS to have its content covered under the service plans.
     The tiered service plan offered by MetroPCS appears to be in direct conflict with the commission’s Dec. 21 net neutrality report, which would require all Internet service providers to treat web traffic equally.
     In a statement to Courthouse News Service, MetroPCS President and CEO Roger Linquist said the company was “committed to promoting competition and an open Internet by giving consumers choices for wireless Internet access services at prices they can afford.”
     Linquist added that MetroPCS appealed the Net Neutrality order “to ensure that the concerns of competitive wireless carriers, like MetroPCS, are addressed.”
     The FCC also asked the federal appeals panel to hold off on considering Verizon’s latest motion to have its case heard by the same panel of judges who shot down net neutrality over Comcast’s challenge in 2010.

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