Wireless To FCC: Don't Tread On Us

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Wireless advocacy group Mobile Future (AT&T, T-Mobile, among others) told the FCC Thursday that it needs to take the "unique challenges" of wireless broadband in mind when it considers a legal framework for broadband Internet access service.

If the commission does, says the group,which includes AT&T and T-Mobile, among others, it will recognize that reclassification would ignore that uniqueness and "thwart innovation and investment in the wireless space.

Among the distinctions between wired and wireless broadband, they say, are the spectrum constraints of wireless and the need for sophisticated traffic management that hinges on a number of moving pieces, including proximity to the cell site, topography, cell site capacity, weather and the device accessing the network.

The group made those arguments in a filing Thursday in the FCC's inquiry into reclassifying broadband access as a Title II telecommunications service subject to some common carrier regs.

The commission is pondering how and whether to apply access regs to wireless in addition to wired broadband given what it has acknowledged are the "technological, structural, consumer usage, and historical differences between mobile wireless and wireline/cable networks."

The wireless industry has gained a recent convert to differential treatment for wireless and wired broadband. Google has teamed with Verizon to support applying only a transparency condition -- informing customers of how it is managing its networks--to wireless broadband.

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