MetroPCS sues to block FCC's net neutrality rules

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MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) followed Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and filed a lawsuit to block the FCC's recently approved net neutrality regulations for wireless and wired networks. The suit comes on the heels of criticism from consumer groups that MetroPCS' LTE data plans violate the rules.

The flat-rate carrier filed its suit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is where Verizon filed its lawsuit. It's also the same court that in April struck down the FCC's authority to sanction Comcast for blocking subscribers from using a file-sharing service.

"MetroPCS' 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." MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist said in a statement.

Consumer groups, including Free Press and Media Access Project, said MetroPCS is making access to sites such as Netflix and Hulu more expensive, and also is blocking Skype's service outright. MetroPCS has said its plans abide by the net neutrality rules, and said it will respond fully to the FCC about the complaints on or before Feb. 11.

Under the FCC's rules, which were approved by a 3-2 vote in December, wireless carriers are barred from blocking services such as Google Voice and Skype that compete with their own voice and video offerings, as well as those in which they have an attributable interest. Carriers also face transparency requirements on network management policies and a basic "no-blocking" rule on lawful content and applications.

For more:
- see this Washington Post article
- see this The Hill article

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