Verizon: Title II Can't Be Applied to Mobile

'Mobile Access Law, Not Equivalent to Public Switched Phone Net'

Verizon execs last week told top FCC staffers that the FCC can't "subject" mobile broadband to Title II regulations even if it wanted to.   

In a meeting at the FCC, Verizon VP and associate general counsel William Johnson said that such an approach is foreclosed by a statutory prohibition on applying common carrier regs to private mobile services, including Internet access.

They also argued that workaround to that restriction, like redefining the public switched network as the Internet, are also prevented given the lack of notice if that is the approach the FCC takes in final rules.

"Because mobile broadband Internet access service cannot, on its own, be used to place calls to telephone numbers, and CMRS cannot be used to connect with (for example) Google’s search engine or or any of the millions of other sources of online content, these two services are not substitutes, and cannot be deemed “functionally equivalent," Verizon told the FCC, according to documents supplied to B&C/Multichannel News.

FCC Chairman Tom wheeler has signaled both that the FCC may apply new network neutrality regs to mobile broadband, something it did not do last time around citing the different network management issues, and that redefining access under some variant of Title II common carrier regs is definitely still on the table. It was made even moreso by the President's strong endorsement of Title II and his somewhat unusual public advice that the FCC should do likewise.