The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Timothy Karr: 201-533-8838,,

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


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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