AT&T today urged the Federal Communications Commission to avoid reclassifying broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service, which is something network neutrality advocates are asking the FCC to do.
Reclassification would open broadband providers up to common carrier rules under Title II of the Communications Act, similar to regulations that have covered our phone system since 1934. Recent calls for reclassification of broadband stem from a federal appeals court ruling that the FCC could not impose strict network neutrality rules, such as prohibitions against blocking Web services and Internet fast lanes, without first declaring the providers to be common carriers.AT&T’s anti-regulatory view isn’t surprising. It’s already arguing that the Public Switched Telephone Network should be shut down and replaced with largely unregulated Internet-based voice service.
The company’s eight-page ex parte filing claims that the reclassification of broadband would backfire in all sorts of unintended ways that would wreak havoc on the Internet, without even achieving the goal of banning paid prioritization deals in which Web services pay for faster access to consumers. Here’s a copy of the letter (thanks to Wall Street Journal reporter Gautham Nagesh for passing it along).
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