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Wireless companies successfully convinced regulators four years ago to keep mobile networks mostly free of net neutrality rules — and it should stay that way, the mobile industry’s top lobbyist said Tuesday.
Federal Communications Commission officials are looking into whether wireless networks should remain exempt from net neutrality rules under a controversial proposal released last month by chairman Tom Wheeler. They’re currently seeking comments on how they might cover wireless networks under future net neutrality rules.
Not surprisingly, mobile carriers aren’t thrilled by the prospect.
“Wireless is different … it is dependent on finite spectrum,” Meredith Attwell Baker, the new head of CTIA, the wireless industry’s lobbying arm, told reporters Tuesday. Baker previously served as the top lobbyist for Comcast’s NBCUniversal* division, joining the company after serving as an FCC commissioner.
Four years ago, FCC officials decided it wasn’t appropriate to impose all of its net neutrality rules — which prohibited broadband providers from blocking or slowing traffic — on wireless networks because they are capacity constrained. Instead, the agency simply barred mobile companies from blocking services that competed with any of the carriers’ own products.
Net neutrality advocates are now hoping to convince regulators to include wireless networks more fully under any new proposed rules. They are pushing for the FCC to re-regulate broadband Internet under a section of the law (called Title II), which was written with old phone networks in mind.
“Title II is not a viable option” for wireless carriers, Baker said Tuesday. “It’s the wrong path. We should never treat our mobile ecosystem like a public utility.”
The FCC will be taking public comments about what it should do about new net neutrality rules through the end of July. You can comment either here or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* NBCUniversal is an investor in Revere Digital, Re/code’s parent company.
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