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January 11, 2011
11:05 AM

CONTACT: Free Press

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

Public Interest Groups Call on FCC to Investigate MetroPCS for Internet Blocking

WASHINGTON - January 11 - On Monday, Free Press, along with the Center for Media Justice, Media Access Project, New America Foundation Open Technology Institute and, filed a letter with the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to investigate claims that new service plans being offered by mobile provider MetroPCS block and discriminate against Internet content, applications and websites.

Last week, MetroPCS, the nation’s fifth-largest wireless provider, announced a new scheme under which MetroPCS — not its customers — will decide which Internet sites and services are important. MetroPCS is advertising unlimited talk, text, “Web browsing” and YouTube at a base price of $40 per month -- with all other uses only available on higher tiers at a higher cost. The plans would effectively create a “walled garden” that excludes Skype, Netflix and other popular consumer Internet services, putting those service providers at a competitive disadvantage and restricting consumer choice and innovation.

Free Press Policy Counsel M. Chris Riley made the following statement:

"The FCC’s mobile broadband loopholes adopted in its December Net Neutrality order are already leading to anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices. The agency must act quickly to investigate MetroPCS’s service plans before similar blocking and content-based discrimination on wireless networks becomes an industry-wide problem.

“MetroPCS's practices are particularly problematic because, as the company itself recognizes, it disproportionately serves lower-income subscribers, the same audience that is increasingly relying on mobile access to the Web. A walled garden in mobile broadband leaves a large number of Internet users on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

To view a copy of the letter, click here:


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