The wireless industry continues its rally against the FCC’s net neutrality proposal, which would reclassify broadband Internet service under Title II of the Communications Act.
AT&T, Verizon and CTIA were unanimously opposed to the plan in separate reply comments filed yesterday with the regulator. The reclassification of broadband Internet service under Title II would give the FCC the necessary authority to enforce its net neutrality principles after its power to do so was undermined by a court ruling earlier this year.
Verizon said the commission’s proposal would cause “significant harm and is not needed to solve any problem.”
“Carriers are now in the midst of making billions of dollars of additional investments to deploy fourth generation wireless technologies such as LTE and WiMAX,” Verizon said in its filing.. “Imposing Title II common carriage regulation on wireless broadband Internet access services would deter investment at the worst possible time.”
In a joint statement issued with Google earlier this week, Verizon proposed the FCC enforce its current wireline broadband principles on a case-by-case basis and forbear from applying net neutrality regulations to wireless broadband, while allowing Internet service providers to offer paid-for “differentiated online services.” The proposal was heavily criticized by net neutrality advocates.
In its comments, AT&T called reclassification “unnecessary” and argued it would violate section 230 of the Communications Act and the First Amendment. It also called the agency’s plan to forbear from enforcing many of Title II’s considerable regulations “grossly inadequate.”
“Providers have good reason to fear that every new network management technique, any commercial arrangement, and any anti-piracy measure — all practices that pro-regulation interest groups reflexively condemn — would become the subject of complaints and litigation,” AT&T said.
CTIA took a similar tack, arguing that the unique attributes of spectrum-based Internet services made imposition of Title II regulations “particularly inappropriate.”
“(While) CTIA commends the Commission’s commitment to making more spectrum available for wireless broadband, wireless broadband providers must continue to have the flexibility to not only manage their networks to maintain service quality, but also the flexibility to innovate in terms of the technology used to manage the networks without effectively having to ask permission before innovating,” CTIA said. “Unfortunately, that flexibility that would be undermined by Title II regulation.”