Today a court filing made it known that MetroPCS has dropped its lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding net neutrality. The comes following MetroPCS’ acquisition by T-Mobile, a company that had not been part of the legal proceeding.
Verizon, and until recently, MetroPCS contend that government rules regarding network neutrality – the requirement that all data served by an ISP must be treated as equal – is unconstitutional, arbitrary, and outside the bounds of the FCC’s authority.
Proponents of net neutrality – supporters of which include Google, Twitter, and Facebook – argue that the practice ensures that free speech can persist; if an ISP can slow content of a certain variety, it can unilaterally block its customers from having unfettered access to the Internet.
This has commercial and political implications. Some ISPs are also content-producers. This means that they would have a material interest in boosting their content, perhaps by speeding its delivery, and slowing that of their content-competitors.
Even more, the decision by an ISP to slow, speed, or block certain forms of content online is tantamount to having an unelected censor in place; in many locations there might be but a single ISP that can provide broadband, granting that firm a natural monopoly over the local population; to then grant that company the authority over what that population can read, view, and say, is troubling.
For a much longer dive in Verizon’s arguments, and a common sense grappling with their worth, head here.
The loss of MetroPCS is unlikely to deter Verizon. But it has lost an ally, publicly, and that cannot do anything but lessen its momentum.
Top Image Credit: Eric Hauser