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FCC Facing Court Challenges on Net Neutrality Laws

Photo: Orlando Florin Rosu

The Federal Communications Commission has come under fire of late for its new so-called net neutrality regulations, published last week in the Federal Register.

This time, rather than criticism of being heavy-handed, the FCC is taking heat for not going far enough.

Media reform group Free Press filed a lawsuit in a Boston federal court Wednesday, claiming the FCC offers less protection for mobile wireless Internet access than for wired access.

The new regulations, effective Nov. 20, ban Internet service providers from blocking applications or preventing consumer access to competitor websites.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said in a statement that the organization intends to challenge the FCC’s distinction between wired and wireless Internet access.

“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,” Wood said. “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.”

Four groups have filed lawsuits against the FCC this week. Verizon challenged the FCC earlier this year, but a federal judge ruled in April the company must wait until the regulations were published in the Federal Register.

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