If the FCC were to attempt to reclassify broadband as a communications service under Title II, the industry will immediately sue to block the move, AT&T Randall Stephenson vowed yesterday.
It’s a threat many communications companies have been making pretty much from the moment that Title II reclassification was first invoked a year ago. In fact, it’s standard operating procedure. Outside of spectrum giveaways, there have been few changes in communications policy in recent years that some large company in the communications industry hasn’t challenged.
Stephenson credited FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler with being widely inclusive with all stakeholders, open and diligent in attempting to craft a regime consistent with the network neutrality principles recently reiterated and elucidated by President Obama. Stephenson gave his remarks at the Wells Fargo Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
But Congress, now entirely controlled by Republicans, isn’t going for any of it, Stephenson noted. And no matter what Wheeler’s FCC does going forward, he said, “there is no doubt whatever happens here either way is going to be litigated.”
Between the normal rule-making process the FCC must go through and the subsequent litigation, nothing is going to be settled for another two or three years – and that’s a best-case scenario, Stephenson said.
Stephenson then reiterated the same threat communications companies have been making: any attempt at a rule change means they won’t have “clarity” or “certainty” and so they will stop investing in their networks.
Of course, if communications companies did not challenge Title II reclassification, they would immediately have regulatory clarity and certainty. The thing that would render everything unclear and uncertain would be the litigation process.
Photo – AP
Filed Under: Industry regulations