Free Press files lawsuit on FCC's net neutrality rules

The rules shouldn't separate mobile broadband from wired broadband, the media reform group argues

Advocacy group Free Press has filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, with the group arguing the new regulations are too weak.

The FCC's rules, approved by the commission last December, treat wireline and mobile broadband providers differently, but they shouldn't, said Free Press, a left-leaning media reform group. Free Press filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, just days after the FCC published the rules in the Federal Register, the last step before they go into effect.

The regulations, sometimes called open Internet rules, bar wireline broadband providers from "unreasonable discrimination" against Web traffic, but don't have the same prohibition for mobile broadband providers. The rules prohibit mobile providers from blocking voice and other applications that compete with their services, but don't prohibit them from blocking other applications.

"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," Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said in a statement. "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."

Free Press will fight to make the rules stronger, because there's no evidence in the FCC's record to justify this "arbitrary distinction" between wired and mobile broadband, Wood added. "The disparity that the FCC's rules create is unjust and unjustified," he said. "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."

An FCC spokesman didn't have an immediate comment on the Free Press lawsuit.

The FCC will likely see more challenges from companies on the other side of the net neutrality debate from Free Press.

Earlier this year, Verizon Communications and MetroPCS filed challenges to the rules, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the lawsuits because the companies filed before the rules were published in the Federal Register. Verizon, which has said it plans to refile a lawsuit, has argued that the FCC does not have the authority to regulate broadband.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags free presstelecommunicationregulationCivil lawsuitsU.S. Court of Appeals for the First CircuitinternetInternet service providersVerizon WirelessU.S. Court of Appeals for the District of ColumbiaMetroPCSlegalU.S. Federal Communications CommissiongovernmentMatt WoodVerizon Communicationsbroadband

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?