Policy

AT&T Joins Internet Action Day

Telco creates TV, print ads promoting Open Internet support 7/11/2017 12:15 PM Eastern

Looking to get in on some of the action of Title II fans' internet Day of Action July 12, AT&T said Tuesday (July 11) it would be joining in -- sort of.

Related: ISP Group Arms for July 12 Protest

The telco is calling for Congress to step in to preserve that open Internet, but without resorting to Title II-based regulations it argues were meant for another century.

ISPS have long argued that Title II fans don't have a monopoly on wanting to protect network neutrality.

"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," AT&T senior EVP Bob Quinn blogged. "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....On the eve of this 'Day of Action,' AT&T reaffirms our support for an open internet based on protections that are fair and equal for everyone. We hope Congress can reach agreement on these principles and make those protections permanent."

Related: ISPs Seek More Time to Challenge Title II in Supreme Court

AT&T's participation in the action day includes running TV and print ads (see graphic) Tuesday-Friday pointing out that it also supports an open internet (though not based on Title II), and saying no company should block or discriminatorily throttle web content.

The company said it agrees that the internet needs to be a free flow of ideas and commerce and that no company should impede that, so it is joining in to champion the right to access content, applications and devices of the public's choosing.

That covers at least two of the three current Title II-based rules--against blocking and throttling. The third rule, against paid prioritization, is a grayer area for ISPs and does not get a mention in the ads.

The AT&T ads also say there should not be censorship, and there should be transparency.

ISPs have been pushing for Congress to step in and clarify that the FCC has the authority to prevent blocking or anticompetitive throttling without resorting to reclassification of ISPs under Title II common carrier regs, including, potentially, rate regs either before or after the fact.

But that is not the kind of action the Day of Action organizers have in mind). They argue that Title II is the only way to protect the 'net against potential anticompetitive conduct and are also strongly opposed to paid prioritization.

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