The Federal Communications Commission is trying to reclassify broadband connections. Led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC has filled a commission for including mobile broadband connections under Title II of the Communications Act.
However, AT&T strongly disagrees with the commission’s broadband connection reclassification. There a section in in the Communications Act that actually prohibits the FCC from placing mobile broadband under Title II. It is prohibited for home Internet access and mobile data to common carrier rules.
The negotiation of Section 332 was made by the general director of Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association. Wheeler agrees with placing mobile voice under Title II, but not with mobile data. Even more, he began negotiations for net neutrality rules being under Title II. These rules prevent Internet providers to block, speed up or throttle traffic. Of course, all these cost money.
However AT&T again disagrees and strongly suggests that Title II cannot be used for neutrality rules. More importantly, ISP’s are threating to sue the commission if Internet and mobile services are reclassified.
AT&T’s attorney reminded the commission that the correct classification has already been made in 2007. Broadband Internet access along with wireless connections was placed under Title III as PMRS. Also, wireless access was placed under Title II as information services. Taking into account these two separate barriers, it is enough to consider wireless Internet access as a common carrier service. Gary Philips, the general attorney on the case also stated that DC Circuit has already recognized mobile-data providers as “statutorily immune”, being common carriers.
In that regard, AT&T is using the common carrier status to avoid any further sues or regulations. The FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, did however find another reason to sue AT&T: throttling unlimited data. In its defense, AT&T stated that its data practices are not to be targeted because of their common carrier status despite the fact that mobile data is not under Title II.
On the other hand, Public Knowledge, an advocacy group in favor of Title II, offered several arguments in favor of the mobile reclassification. Public Knowledge also firmly sustained that wireless users should benefit from the same protection as wired users, because wireless Internet access is CMRS and not PMRS.
The two major forces continue to disagree whether accurate notice has been made in the reclassification of mobile data.
Image Source: commlawblog