On February 26, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) will hold a meeting to vote on NetNeutrality. The FCC is seeking to make the internet a public utility under Title II regulations. These regulations seek to keep the internet open to anyone wishing to use it without hindrance by ISPs or telecom. It would also remove the so-called fast lanes of the internet, where companies like Comcast or Verizon or AT&T would charge companies to provide them with faster internet giving services while potentially causing other services who may not be able to pay the large amounts of money to operate at less competitive and slower speeds.
Most mobile carriers are not keen on this idea as they feel it would stifle their business and cause them to fall under harsher regulation that may curb innovation. On Thursday, T-Mobile’s Chief Operating Officer stated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “There is nothing in there that gives us deep concern about our ability to continue executing our strategy” though he did also mention that he felt this was not the most beneficial approach.
It would appear that this means T-Mobile is siding more with Sprint, who unlike ATT&T and Verizon, has stated that it does not oppose Title II and that it would not hinder their plans to invest in the telecommunication infrastructure. This is a major change for T-Mobile from November, when colorful and outspoken Chief Operating Officer John Legere hit Twitter to strongly disagree with the FCC on Title II reclassification by stating, “Keep the Internet open but don’t let the FCC kill competition with overzealous regulation.”
With the FCC vote just a week away, it appears the debate and positioning of telecom are heating up and evolving. After the vote next week on the 26th, there will be a period that is held for public comment. AT&T has already stated that it intends to take legal actions against the FCC, and Verizon has made several outspoken comments against Title II as well. It will be some time before we will see how all this plays out. For now all anyone can do is to make their opinions know during the public comment period to the FCC and make their voice heard no matter which side of the fence you stand on.