CTIA: Don't Apply Wired Net Rules to Us

Attwell Baker Seeks Hill Help for Net Neutrality-LTE-As in LTE-Version of New Regs

The mobile wireless industry is clearly feeling the heat from net neutrality fans pushing the FCC to extend anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules to mobile wireless.

In a letter to Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee, CTIA: The Wireless Association President Meredith Attwell Baker, urged him to urge the FCC to retain the 2010 Open Internet order's "mobile specific" approach to regs given the "unique engineering, competitive and legal conditions" of 4G LTE, rather than a one-size-fits both wired and wireless approach.

Recognizing the different network management challenges of wireless, the FCC did not apply those regs, but did apply transparency in disclosure of network management, and left open the possibility to revisit the decision not to apply the others, a revisit opportunity that has now presented itself in the form of the new rulemaking proceeding.

Proponents argue that the explosion in mobile wireless use as the Internet-avenue of choice necessitates expanding the rules.

"The network demands and quality of service needs of a mobile health monitor obviously differ greatly than the needs of a text message or video clip, and providers need the flexibility to continue to evolve and adapt," She told Walden.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has suggested that the commercially reasonable exception for discrimination under the proposed new rules is meant to provide the flexibility for that kind of discrimination.

But Attwell Baker says that it is "vitally important" for the FCC to to retain the sort of mobile-specific approach to net neutrality rules of the 2010 order.

She also put in a bad word for Title II, though only in relation to wireless. She said the FCC should not reclassify "mobile broadband" under Title II. "Any effort by the FCC to invoke Title II with respect to wireless broadband service is likely to provoke litigation and uncertainty that will neither encourage investment and innovation in the the mobile ecosystem nor benefit customers."