CTIA: We'd Consider Suing Over Net Rules If More Wireless Regs Added


CTIA: The Wireless Association says it has reluctantly agreed to a Federal Communications Commission network neutrality proposal currently teed up for a Dec. 21 vote, and still does.

But CTIA president Steve Largent also said Friday that if the FCC tried to impose more than the transparency and non-blocking items now applied in the draft order, his association would oppose it and would not rule out taking it to court.

Largent said the issue was "a moving ball as we speak," and would continue to change and evolve. To that end, he also said the group had meetings scheduled with commissioner Mignon Clyburn and were looking to schedule one Monday or Tuesday to talk about the issue. Both have suggested that they might want to apply more of the net neutrality regs to wireless broadband as they work on edits and input to the draft in advance of the vote.

The FCC has been talking up industry support for the compromise, but Republican Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker suggested in a speech this week that was kind of like offering a kid the choice between broccoli and brussels sprouts, then saying they liked whichever of the two they picked.

Industry players have been basically on the same page, supporting the chairman's proposal grudgingly, as the preferable of two unnecessary regulatory moves.

In a meeting with reporters Friday, Largent made it clear CTIA's support was between the lesser of two evils. With the FCC moving away from Title II, we applaud that, moving towards Title I, they are moving in a direction that we can reluctantly support, he said. "I don't think any rules should apply to wireless at all," said Largent. "I feel like we have compromised by coming to the table to the point where we are now. To think that they would want to pull us in further, I think the industry would be very, very resistant, and would oppose that effort."

Asked if that opposition would be enough to take the new regs to court if they stray too far from that compromise, he said "I think that is definitely an option that would be considered."

But while CTIA said net neutrality and bill shock were two issues where it did not see eye-to-eye with FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, he and the other commissioners got high marks for teeing up Universal Service Reform, spectrum reclamation, tower citing, pole attachments and several other issues.