Commentary

AT&T Mum on Expected Net Neutrality Rules

Martin Nisenholtz vs Greg McCastle

AT&T has been a vocal opponent of new regulations enshrining net neutrality-the idea that wireless carriers and ISPs must give equal treatment to all types of traffic running on their networks.

But when it came to answering a question about the formal net neutrality rules being introduced today by Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski, AT&T's Greg McCastle was rendered speechless today at the OMMA Global conference.

The question came from none other than The New York Times digital chief Martin Nisenholtz, who asked McCastle, senior vice president for advertising and publishing for AT&T Advanced Ad Solutions, about the carrier's position and plans in relation to the proposed FCC rules. The proposals would stop carriers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from blocking or slowing certain kinds of content or services on their networks.

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McCastle appeared perplexed by the query, and asked Nisenholtz if he could be more specific. Nisenholtz in return seemed puzzled by McCastle's confusion and responded that no, he couldn't be more specific. At which point, McCastle said he would have to refer Nisenholtz to AT&T's "privacy people."

That reply didn't really square either since the question didn't directly concern privacy. Did McCastle mean "policy" people? In any case, he successfully dodged the question. But Nisenholtz should have more to say this afternoon when during his afternoon keynote on the social Web. And AT&T? We'll have to wait and see the carrier is more forthcoming following Genachowski's press conference this afternoon.

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