AT&T will probably be one of the first companies to file a lawsuit if the Federal Communications Commission follows through on a plan to impose stricter rules on broadband. But FCC officials say they’re on solid legal ground.
In a call with reporters to discuss Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality proposal this week, an FCC official said that AT&T’s threatened lawsuit isn’t a surprise and FCC officials don’t expect it to be successful. AT&T is arguing that broadband has to be considered an information service and not a telecommunications service. This is important because only telecommunications providers can be treated as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, a designation that Wheeler will use to impose net neutrality rules.
The FCC official said it’s a simple matter: broadband providers offer, for a fee, a service to the public consisting of the transmission of packets. That makes it telecommunications in Wheeler’s view.
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