Free Press sues FCC alleging discrimination against mobile Internet users

Free Press sues FCC alleging discrimination against mobile Internet users
The media reform organization Free Press filed suit yesterday, asking a federal judge to review the FCC's new net neutrality rules.

When the FCC formally announced the adoption of their Open Internet rules last week, the clock started ticking on a 2 month window for legal challenges before they go into effect.

The complaint from Free Press is notable because it is different from those expected from broadband providers like Verizon, who tried unsuccessfully to have the rules overturned in April. Instead of claiming the FCC has no authority for their rules, Free Press argues they may not set different rules for wireline vs wireless service.

The Open Internet rules exempt mobile providers from some rules applied to services like DSL and cable Internet. Specifically, the new rules would allow wireless providers to prioritize different types of traffic as they see fit.

Like traditional broadband providers, they would be required to disclose such practices to customers and would be forbidden from completely blocking lawful traffic. However, it would be within the rules for them to degrade third party services which compete with their own offerings.

For example, if a mobile provider is offering a video service, they would be permitted to throttle Netflix streaming and Google TV.

In a statement announcing the lawsuit yesterday, Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said:

When the FCC first proposed the Open Internet rules, they came with the understanding that there is only one Internet, no matter how people choose to reach it. The final rules provide some basic protections for consumers, but do not deliver on the promise to preserve openness for mobile Internet access. They fail to protect wireless users from discrimination, and they let mobile providers block innovative applications with impunity.

Our challenge will show that there is no evidence in the record to justify this arbitrary distinction between wired and wireless Internet access. The disparity that the FCC's rules create is unjust and unjustified. And it's especially problematic because of the increasing popularity of wireless, along with its increasing importance for younger demographics and diverse populations who rely on mobile devices as their primary means for getting online.

Free Press will face an uphill battle thanks to a 2005 Supreme Court decision which essentially gave the FCC free reign to define their own rules for what Internet services should or shouldn't be regulated.

However, in that case the FCC was defending equal treatment for DSL and cable Internet providers rather than discriminatory treatement by connection type.

Written by: Rich Fiscus @ 29 Sep 2011 10:50
Lawsuit fcc net neutrality Federal Communications Commission Free Press
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  • 1 comment
  • buxtahuda

    Hope Iguana takes a look...

    ~*Livin' Electronicallly*~

    29.9.2011 17:43 #1

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