The wireless industry’s reaction to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s decision to put net neutrality rules up for vote later this month can be summarized in one word: wary.
Genachowski’s announcement yesterday was short on details about how the proposed regulations would affect mobile broadband Internet services, and his formal proposal has yet to be made public.
CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said the group was still waiting to review Genachowski’s specific proposal and maintained that net neutrality regulations are unnecessary for wireless services, but was “pleased that the proposed rules have moved away from broad Title II regulation and toward a more tailored approach that recognizes the unique nature of wireless services.”
Verizon Wireless issued a cautiously-worded statement which withheld judgment until Genachowski made his proposal public. Verizon policy chief Tom Tauke said the carrier didn’t take issue with the concept of the open Internet, only with the extent to which the FCC should regulate it.
Sprint was more upbeat on Genachowski’s proposal, though its government affairs executive Vonya McCann said the company has not seen the details of the item. McCann said the company “commends the FCC for the careful and deliberate approach it has taken on this issue,” citing Genachowski’s recognition of the differences between wireless and fixed broadband Internet services.
Neither AT&T nor T-Mobile USA issued statements about Genachowski’s net neutrality plan, which apparently takes into account the differences between fixed and mobile broadband Internet services, but stops short of exempting wireless operators from net neutrality rules.
Congressmen Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) questioned whether the FCC had the authority to regulate broadband Internet services in a letter sent to Genachowski yesterday. “In the absence of clear authority, the FCC should defer to Congress in this matter,” they wrote.
Both Barton and Stearns oppose the FCC’s net neutrality agenda and the reclassification of broadband Internet services under Title II of the Communications Act.
Filed Under: Industry regulations