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Ed McFadden

Federal Court Dismisses Verizon, Metro PCS Net Neutrality Appeals

in FCC/Net Neutrality/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 – The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed a suit Monday seeking to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s recent net neutrality rules, finding that the appellants in the case filed their appeal prematurely.

The appeal challenged the FCC’s authority to institute the Open Internet Order it issued in December.  Appellants Verizon and Metro PCS argued that the FCC’s new rules would, if instituted, impermissibly modify the terms of their wireless spectrum licenses.

The Order, which the Commission passed by a 3-2 vote in December of last year, provides three guidelines by which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must abide in their offerings to consumers.  First, ISPs must provide services in a transparent manner by disclosing their network management practices and performance characteristics.  Second, network providers must not block lawful content from their customers, and third, providers may not unreasonably discriminate by prioritizing certain network traffic without sufficient reason.

The D.C. Circuit – the court that last year struck down the FCC’s attempt to impose net neutrality rules on Comcast – did not reach the merits of the arguments in dismissing the case.  Rather, the court shot down the carriers’ efforts to block implementation of the net neutrality rules on the procedural basis that the companies filed their appeals too early.

Parties may not file appeals to FCC rules until those rules are published in the Federal Register.  Though the Commission voted on the Order in December, it still has not appeared in the Federal Register.

The dismissal leaves both carriers the option of refiling their actions once the rules have been published.

Verizon spokesman, Ed McFadden, chalked the dismissal up to an ambiguity in the Commission’s rules for filing appeals.

“This is one more procedural step,” said McFadden on Monday. “We wanted to make sure we preserved and protected our rights, so we filed [the appeal] immediately.  When the rules are published in the Federal Register, we will refile.”

Verizon Launches First 4G Phone, Wins Race with AT&T

in Mobile Broadband/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2011 – Verizon launched its first 4G capable phone Thursday, marking the first step into the next generation of high-speed wireless by one of the two biggest wireless carriers in the U.S.

Verizon announced Thursday’s launch of the HTC Thunderbolt earlier in the week, boasting anticipated download speeds of 5 – 12 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 2 – 5 Mbps on a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network.  In comparison, those speeds outpace speeds in a Gizmodo test of Verizon’s 3G average speeds late last year by a factor of about six.

Currently, the phone will only connect at 4G speeds in approximately 35 cities where Verizon has an LTE network in place.  Wireless competitor Sprint rolled out its version of 4G last year, advertising average speeds of 3 – 6 Mbps covering 40 million subscribers.

Verizon and AT&T, which control more than half the wireless market share, have been in a heated race to roll out their next generation networks since both announced their plans at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.  At the time, Verizon announced an in-place 4G network in 35 U.S. cities and anticipated phones that could utilize the network later in the year.  AT&T, on the other hand, announced a host of 4G-ready phones, but did not project an in-place network until sometime this summer.

“Obviously this is a big day for us,” said Verizon spokesman, Ed McFadden on Thursday. “Now consumers can experience what true 4G speeds can mean and what LTE technology means for various online experiences on a mobile device.”

 

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