Wireless Companies Respond to ‘Net Neutrality’ Proposal

Ariana Rodriguez
WASHINGTON — Following yesterday’s proposal by the chair of the Federal Communications Commission to impose new rules for mobile-web-access providers and broadband providers, some wireless companies — particularly AT&T — expressed discontent.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, delivered the announcement yesterday at the Brookings Institution, and said the FCC must be "a smart cop on the beat preserving a free and open Internet."

In a statement issued by AT&T, the company said it supported the existing neutrality principles for wired networks, and is even open to adding a fifth, but does not back the rules applying to wireless networks.

The company — which currently is the sole service provider for the iPhone — said wireless service is a competitive market that does not need regulation, and justified keeping restrictions on the amount of data wireless customers can use because wireless networks “are facing incredible bandwidth strains [and] require continued private investment at very high levels, and pro-active network management.”

AT&T also went on the offensive, calling the FCC’s plans a “bait and switch” scheme in which they were sold unrestricted blocks of the wireless spectrum last year in the organization’s auction for “billions more” than Verizon’s purchase of a block with limitations of keeping it open to any device and application.

Verizon, in a statement, also said it disapproved of adding new regulations.

“We believe that when the FCC reviews the record and looks at the facts, it will be clear that there is no current problem which justifies the risk of imposing a new set of regulations that will limit consumer choices and affect content providers, application developers, device manufacturers and network builders,” the company said.

According to reports, other wireless providers, including Sprint simply refused to comment on the issue.

Among the new regulations affecting wireless companies include consumer rights to access content and run applications of their choice.