“Tomorrow, AT&T will join the “Day of Action” for preserving and advancing an open internet,” announced Bob Quinn, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, on the company’s Public Policy Blog. “This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free internet. But that’s exactly the point – we all agree that an open internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world. We agree that no company should be allowed to block content or throttle the download speeds of content in a discriminatory manner. So, we are joining this effort because it’s consistent with AT&T’s proud history of championing our customers’ right to an open internet and access to the internet content, applications and devices of their choosing.”
Since Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to Restore Internet Freedom in April of this year, Battle for the Net – a coalition of corporations, consumer, advocates, think tanks, and community groups – has been planning this Day of Action in support of net neutrality. While the coalition members and AT&T don’t see eye to eye on all aspects of how best to ‘preserve and protect an open internet,’ the company is sticking by its commitment to uphold net neutrality.
“For more than a decade, whether under a Democratic or Republican administration, AT&T has supported the need for clear and enforceable open internet rules,” Quinn explained. “We supported the efforts of Republican FCC Chairmen to introduce the nation’s first Open Internet Principles. And we welcomed FCC Chairman Genachowski’s Open Internet Order in 2010 and testified before Congress, as a Democratic witness, in support of it.”
Quinn further contends that “AT&T has long embraced this bipartisan regulatory approach because it has advanced internet freedom and openness without sacrificing innovation, investment and rapid growth throughout our nation’s online ecosystem. With its 2010 Open Internet Order, the FCC tackled the core issues of blocking, throttling, and anti-competitive paid prioritization that stood at the center of the open internet debate and addressed the prominent concerns of online consumers.”
To date, 6,024,517 comments have been filed in the current net neutrality proceeding (WC Docket No. 17-08). July 17, 2017 marks the first comment deadline, and those interested in weighing in can do so by visiting the FCC’s website.
“The debate around an open internet has been going on for nearly 15 years,” Quinn said. “In the end, the issue is never really about what the rules should be or whether we should have an open internet. Rather, the debate focuses on whether open internet rules should derive from the 80-year-old Communications Act or some other theory of Congressional authority because the current law predates the internet. Instead of having this debate again, Congress should act now to provide the clear statutory authority that guarantees an open internet for all consumers.”