FCC hears from tech heavyweights on net neutrality
Skype says “yea,” most carriers say “nay” and CTIA calls it “inappropriate and unnecessary.”
Last night was the deadline to submit comments for the Federal Communications Commission’s stance on net neutrality, a hot button topic that has attracted the attention of the entire telecom industry.
The wireless industry has lobbied hard against net neutrality regulation on the grounds that wireless networks are fundamentally different from wired networks because wireless depends on a limited resource – spectrum – to provide enough bandwidth for mobile broadband users.
CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said in a letter to the FCC that the agency’s proposed rules were “incompatible with wireless broadband” and “are inappropriate for wireless broadband networks and unnecessary to ensure that wireless consumers continue to enjoy the open Internet.”
AT&T has sided firmly with CTIA, while Verizon Wireless has taken a slightly different stance. In a joint statement filed with Google, Verizon Wireless laid out several principles for a “self-directed ecosystem that continues to innovate and invest without unnecessarily restrictive government intervention. … In particular, consumers should continue to have access to the information, products and service of their choice online; to encourage investment in robust, advanced networks; and to protect and promote Internet openness.”
Both Verizon and Google also said the FCC should examine specific market and technical factors before applying any general oversight or specific rule to wireless broadband networks.
Skype took a more hard-line approach to the regulation of wireless broadband, saying: “Evidence suggests that carriers have the incentive and ability to harm innovation in the real-time communications application market, such as that made possible by Skype, either by outright blocking or more subtle forms of discrimination. Because these applications offer consumers additional choice and savings, they should not be delayed, obstructed or throttled by broadband access providers.”