The FCC published a 400-page report on Thursday that details its new rules for net neutrality. At its core, it prevents Internet providers from blocking specific content on networks, from throttling users who consume a lot of data, and from allowing partners to pay for “fast lane” Internet access.
AT&T isn’t happy.
First, the FCC’s rules are important for net neutrality, which argues that the Internet is a utility. It prevents an Internet provider, for example, from stopping a third-party service like Netflix operating on its network to instead promote home-built or approved streaming services. It means you and I can surf the net as much as we like, without having to necessarily worry about steep data caps or other barriers. It also means that one well-funded company can’t pay more to deliver better services than a start-up that doesn’t have as much money to contribute.
AT&T argued on Thursday that the FCC’s net neutrality rules aren’t going to be good for consumers in the U.S. “Unfortunately, the order released today begins a period of uncertainty that will damage broadband investment in the United States,” AT&T senior executive vice president-external and legislative affairs Jim Cicconi said. “Ultimately, though, we are confident the issue will be resolved by bipartisan action by Congress or a future FCC, or by the courts.”
As with everything, there are two sides to every story. AT&T, and a lot of other service providers, believe that competition through investment in networks will naturally offer the best benefits to consumers. For now, the FCC thinks otherwise.