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MetroPCS Drops Net Neutrality Challenge

In something of a going-away present to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, whose last day was today (May 17), MetroPCS has dropped its challenge to the FCC's network neutrality rules.

New MetroPCS owner T-Mobile -- T-Mobile completed the purchase earlier this month -- inherited the suit and signaled Friday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that it is no longer interested in pursuing the challenge.

That still leaves Verizon challenging the rules. According to MetroPCS, Verizon was notified of its motion to dismiss and had no objection. Verizon had no comment, but a source said the company was continuing the suit. The case has not yet been scheduled for oral argument. It did not make the May schedule, and so it is looking like it will be fall before the case is even argued.

"We're happy that T-Mobile has dropped MetroPCS's lawsuit challenging the Open Internet rules. The rules are working," said Public Knowledge in a statement. "While they're not perfect, they reassure Internet companies that they will be able to reach users, they give ISPs a framework under which they can manage their networks and they provide a mechanism for working out disputes."

MetroPCS joined with Verizon in January 2011 to challenge the FCC's vote to expand and codify its network neutrality guidelines.

"The FCC's widely supported open Internet framework has contributed to healthy growth in innovation and investment across the U.S. broadband economy," Genachowski  said in a statemet. "Since 2010, our strong and balanced rules have been protecting entrepreneurs and consumers, and have increased certainty and predictability for investors in Internet services as well as networks. The ongoing litigation - now pursued by a single company - only serves to reduce that certainty and predictability. I applaud T-Mobile's decision to withdraw from this litigation."