Comcast & AT&T issue statements opposing reclassification

May 13, 2014
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netneutrality-contentblocked VentureBreak

The FCC has been under an extreme amount of pressure in the last few days due to theirĀ net neutrality proposal, which would result in theĀ opposite of net neutrality. The FCC plans to vote onĀ May 15 on a new draft of open Internet rules that would use existing Sec. 706 authority to justify the rules rather than go the Title II route, though input will be given on whether the FCC should impose Title II regs.

Now, Comcast and AT&T are telling the FCC that attempting to reclassify their companiesĀ as common carrier services would deter billions in investment needed for broadband deployment and would subject the industry and the FCC alike to years of litigation.

Translation: Give us what we want or else we will intentionally scale back our services so that our investors can continue raking in billions while we win more “Worst Company Of The Year” awards.

2014wciabracketqfinal Consumerist

AT&T and Comcast are reacting to the growing pressure from tech companies and the general public to reclassify broadband services under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Of course, almost nothing that Comcast and AT&T describe is actually true.

For example, AT&T states several timesĀ that if the FCC reclassifies broadband providers, it will have to reclassify all sorts of availableĀ services by AT&T, including various internet companies such as search and email providers….except as TechDirt & Ars Technica point out, this is not even remotely close to the truth.

Over the past decade, the FCC has issued a number of decisions that define broadband as information services. Therefore, the FCC was able to specifically identify broadband without impacting other services. So, why can’t we do it here?

As Free Press’s Matt Wood told Brodkin: “Nothing in Title II says that every last provision has to apply to any Title II service.” – TechDirt

AT&T and Comcast both completely mischaracterizeĀ what theĀ federal appeals court said when they struck down the FCCā€™s net neutrality rules. The court did not dispute the FCCā€™s authority to impose common carrier obligations if it were to reclassify broadband, and the court said that anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules are common carrier obligations.

Oh, and apparently AT&T wants us to care that Wall Street may not like this deal from an investor standpoint. With revenues of around $130 billion in 2013, it is understandable that they would want to make sure that every last dime was kept in their investor’s pockets rather than spent on consumer services.

In fact, most of what is found in AT&T’s statement was already dealt with by the FCC back in 2010. Mike Masnick also makes a great point about the dates of the quotes found in AT&T’s statement:

“Even more hilarious is that nearly all of the Wall Street analyst quotes that AT&T tosses out are from five years ago, and many are insisting that there’s no need for reclassification because of all that “competition” in the broadband space. But now we know that was bunk then, and it’s even more bunk today.”

 

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