Reaction to ‘Net Neutrality’ Speech by FCC Chairman

Responses to FCC Chairman Genachowski’s speech proposing a process to arrive at federal “net neutrality” regulations.

The Washington Post reports, “AT&T Says Keep Net Neutrality Rules Off Wireless“:

In response to the announcement, AT&T officials said they would support broadly the principles outlined by Genachowski for their wireline business. They don’t think the rules should apply to wireless.

“We are concerned, however, that the FCC appears ready to extend the entire array of net neutrality requirements to what is perhaps the most competitive consumer market in America, wireless services,” Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior vice president of external and legislative affairs, said in a statement.

From The Hill, “FCC chairman outlines net neutrality rules“:

Verizon Vice President of Regulatory Affairs David Young said the company supports an open Internet, but said placing formal rules over network operations could lead “to unintended consequences.”

“We certainly don’t want to see the Internet locked in stone as it is today,” he said. “The Internet needs to be free to continue to evolve.”

From CTIA — the Wireless Association, a statement from Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Guttman-McCabe, excerpts:

As we have said before, we are concerned about the unintended consequences Internet regulation would have on consumers considering that competition within the industry has spurred innovation, investment, and growth for the U.S. economy.

As a justification for the adoption of rules, the Chairman suggested that one reason for concern ‘has to do with limited competition among service providers.’ This is at the core of our concerns. Unlike the other platforms that would be subject to the rules, the wireless industry is extremely competitive, extremely innovative, and extremely personal. How do the rules apply to the single-purpose Amazon Kindle? How does it apply to Google’s efforts to cache content to provide a better consumer experience? How about the efforts from Apple and Android, Blackberry and Nokia, Firefly and others to differentiate the products and services they develop for consumers? Should all product and service offerings be the same?

Note, as well, Guttman-McCabe’s comments on investment.

And in the political gossip vein, from American Spectator’s Washington Prowler column:

White House sources say imposing the Internet regulations has been in the works for months, and a coordinated effort with Democrats on Capitol Hill and with the outside groups they have been holding discussions with, such as Free Press, MoveOn, scholars at the Center for American Progress, and corporate friends, such as Google.

“We let Markey introduce his Internet bill first, in part, because it was just so extreme that it made what Julius is proposing seem downright reasonable,” says a White House legislative aide. “But in the end, either approach gets us to where our friends wanted us to be, but we get to do it without a public or ugly fight. The hope is that the federal regulatory process isn’t going to engender the same kind of emotion that, say, a tax or health care debate might.”

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