Net neutrality: Telecoms want partial changes in FCC norms

American telecoms have joined hands to fight against FCC to block a part of its Net neutrality regulation.

This time, USTelecom, AT&T, CenturyLink, CTIA-the Wireless Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association have joined hands and approached the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

They want FCC to stay its action placing broadband Internet access service under Title II public utility regulation. The stay request does not affect the commission’s rules that prohibit blocking, throttling and paid prioritization. This indicates that these telecoms are ready to accept FCC guidelines that will protect consumer interests.

Earlier, telecoms such as AT&T warned that FCC guidelines will halt its investment in broadband.

In India, telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Uninor, etc recently announced that they support Net neutrality. Indian telecoms said they are against blocking of sites and applications, throttling and paid prioritization. But they urged TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to bring communication OTT players such as Whatsapp under the regulatory regime and face taxes.

In the US, the petitioners want the commission to review the parts of its recent order that would subject broadband providers to Title II common carrier obligations, and the newly created Internet conduct standard that would allow the FCC to decide what new services carriers could offer.

Smaller companies operating in rural areas said the new obligations would subject them to legal challenges that will be costly to address, arising from unclear definitions. Other companies fear the order could impede innovative marketing plans that are popular with consumers today because the offerings will now be viewed through the rigid common-carrier lens of Title II regulation.

In addition, the order claims FCC control over peering agreements involving broadband Internet access providers, inserting the FCC into Internet peering for the first time. This claim of control raises concerns that this area of the Internet would be subject to governmental delays and second guessing, harming investment and innovation.

TIA CEO Scott Belcher said: “The FCC’s arbitrary decision to impose unnecessary, overly broad Title II regulations on the Internet has caused uncertainty in the marketplace and will impede investment, innovation and growth.”

Baburajan K
[email protected]