Interest Groups Take MetroPCS to Task Over Net Neutrality
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Jan 12, 2011, 9:11 AM by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jan 12, 2011, 9:40 AM
A number of public interest groups have sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission alleging that MetroPCS' new LTE mobile broadband plans violate net neutrality laws and are too vague. The groups say MetroPCS' new plans claim to offer unlimited mobile web, but only to select sites. For example, YouTube is the only streaming video site supported, while others are blocked. The FCC passed rules in late 2010 (which go into effect later this year) that prevent broadband providers from blocking access to content. In the letter, the groups said, "The service plans announced by MetroPCS create distinctions between different users of the Internet that lack any engineering merit. By permitting YouTube videos and Web sites to be viewed without limit, while simultaneously disallowing or restricting the use of other voice and video Web sites and services, MetroPCS' actions harm competition, consumer choice and innovation." Those involved with the action include the Media Access Project, Free Press, Center for Media Justice, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, and Presente.org. "The lack of clarity is troubling to us," said Matt Wood, associate director of the Media Access Project. "They're splitting Web access from data access." MetroPCS responded to the allegations on January 12, saying, "The complaints about our new, pro-consumer, pro-competitive 4G LTE rate plans are erroneous. We continue to offer consumers a full service, unlimited data plan... These new rate plans comply with the FCC's new rules on open mobile Internet."
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