Verizon, AT&T Ask FCC To Hold Off On Neutrality Rules

Verizon, which successfully sued to vacate Net neutrality regulations, now says it supports open Internet principles and will ensure that consumers using its network can access all lawful content, services and apps.

“An Open Internet benefits consumers and the Internet ecosystem generally,” Verizon says in papers submitted to the Federal Communications Commission late last week. “Consumers clearly benefit because they can access whatever lawful content, applications and services they choose. And ensuring such access makes sense for broadband Internet access providers because that is what consumers expect and demand.”

The company's filing comes in response to the FCC's February announcement that it plans to rewrite neutrality regulations. Earlier this year, an appellate court struck down the prior neutrality rules, which prohibited all broadband providers -- wireline and wireless -- from blocking or degrading content and services, and prohibited wireline providers from engaging in unreasonable discrimination. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said those regulations wrongly imposed common carrier restrictions on broadband providers.

The FCC is now trying to craft new neutrality rules, and has solicited comments from all interested parties.

Verizon says in its papers that any restrictions on wireless broadband providers will be counterproductive.

“Given the exceedingly competitive and dynamic nature of the mobile wireless marketplace, the absence of any demonstrated harm relating to mobile broadband practices, and the enormous welfare gains that the marketplace is conferring upon consumers, the Commission should avoid prescriptive regulation that will be outdated as soon as the ink is dry,” the company says.

Verizon competitor AT&T also is weighing in with the FCC. That telecom, which also opposes new regulations, makes a different argument than Verizon. AT&T says that companies such as itself should be allowed to create different arrangements with different “edge providers” -- Web companies that offer content and services. “By enabling smaller edge providers to negotiate special arrangements for handling of their traffic, flexible net neutrality rules will empower start-ups to compete more effectively against more entrenched and well-heeled rivals.

Broadband advocates generally take the opposite position, arguing that rules prohibiting Internet service providers from discriminating create a level playing field, which helps small startups to compete with established companies.

"Network switch and UTP ethernet cables" photo from Shutterstock.



1 comment about "Verizon, AT&T Ask FCC To Hold Off On Neutrality Rules".
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  1. Geo Tel from GeoTel, March 26, 2014 at 9:53 a.m.

    You hope the FCC writes the regulations so net neutrality rules are flexible enough to allow smaller edge providers to negotiate special arrangements. The concern is that net neutrality laws will have an opposite effect and will harm the smaller companies.

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