Only one person has filed a net neutrality complaint so far. His name is Alex Nguyen and he is a recent college graduate living in California, The target? Verizon Wireless, because of more than a dozen actions the carrier has taken since 2012 that Alex feels violates open internet protections.
For most of 2015, Mr. Nguyen has been examining years of Verizon’s public statements and actions, and crafting over 300 citations into a 112-page document. He finished last year, and paid the FCC a US$225 filing fee to submit his paper. Alex isn’t a lawyer and has no legal training; rather, he studied computer science.
But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to take Verizon to task for allegedly violating internet openness rules in six different ways, which include discriminatory pricing, limiting customer choice, and downright lying about its network capabilities.
And Verizon isn’t standing still. At one point, the carrier objected to Mr. Nguyen’s definition of “Verizion” and offered its own definition. Alex then objected to Verizon’s objection, saying that the carrier simply copied his definition.
Beyond Net Neutrality
Under Ajit Pai, the new FCC isn’t favorable to net neutrality, which is sees as a hindrance to competition among telecommunications providers. The problem with that position for anyone paying any attention is that it is, in fact, the opposite. If net neutrality rules are completely repealed though, Mr. Nguyen has a trick up his sleeve. It involves what is called the C Block rules.
Verizon had to accept these rules in order to license part of the wireless spectrum. Under these rules, licensees of C Block spectrum have to let customers freely use devices and apps they choose themselves. Back in 2012, Verizon even had to pay the FCC US$1.25 million to settle an investigation the agency had done regarding Verizon’s compliance with these rules.
Right now, the FCC is months past its deadline to rule on Mr. Nguyen’s complaint. This is most certainly because the 2015 Open Internet Order will probably be scrapped in the next several months, and if it does, this will completely change the facts surrounding this case. Although Alex said he isn’t worried about his complaint being delayed for political reasons, he still hopes that it will show “that these things actually do violate the open internet rules.”