The Media Access Project (MAP), along with a number of other consumer and media advocacy groups, yesterday petitioned the FCC to investigate MetroPCS for possible net neutrality violations pertaining to the carrier’s new LTE mobile broadband plans.
The letter also contends that MetroPCS has moved to restrict lower-priced “unlimited” plans from accessing certain websites, such as Netflix and YouTube, forcing users to upgrade to higher priced plans if they want to use those apps or services.
“Metro PCS must not be allowed to continue to offer service plans that block Internet content, web sites, applications and services. The Commission must act immediately to investigate Metro PCS’s practices,” the letter states, adding that “standing silent in the face of ongoing violations once the rules take effect could signal effective endorsement of bad practices.”
The letter also contends that MetroPCS has completely blocked VoIP service Skype, which would be violation of the FCC’s recently adopted net neutrality rules.
“This is exactly the way we expected carriers to ‘test’ the FCC’s resolve with respect to wireless network neutrality. Unless the Commission responds decisively, MetroPCS’ competitors are likely to follow suit,” wrote Andrew Jay Schwartzman, MAP senior vice president and policy director, in a statement.
MetroPCS fired back today. CEO Roger Linquist told Post Tech, a Washington Post blog, that all of its plans abide by the FCC’s new rules on open mobile Internet.
“The complaints about our new, pro-consumer, pro-competitive 4G LTE rate plans are erroneous. We continue to offer consumers a full service, unlimited data plan. We increased consumer choice by adding two new rate plans that are less expensive and enable consumers to select the service and content they want at a price point they can afford. These new rate plans comply with the FCC’s new rules on open mobile Internet,” Linquist said.
Metro PCS has informed the FCC that it will make a “full and complete written response to the various assertions contained in the letter on or before February 11, 2011,” according to the Washington Post.