AT&T may be one of the most committed opponents of net neutrality laws in their current form, but the company has shown that it supports the spirit of the open internet by committing to take part in a day of action set to be attended by some of the biggest names in the tech world. The festivities are being put together by Free Press, Demand Progress and Fight for the Future. AT&T plans to not only take part in the upcoming day of action, but also run ads in some areas to proclaim the company's belief in the core values behind the net neutrality movement.
According to AT&T executive Bob Quinn, the carrier does believe in a free and open internet for all, but stands against the heavy-handed way that the FCC has chosen to go about achieving such. He calls out Title II regulations, the legal framework that allows the FCC to regulate internet providers in the same way as the landline phone companies from years ago, as not only being far more than what's necessary to enforce the creation and maintenance of an open internet, but as being a gateway to excessive control over telecoms by the FCC. Quinn explained that though AT&T's opinions of how to champion an open internet may be at odds with others involved with the day of action, the carrier believes strongly enough in the concept of an open internet that differences in methods shouldn't mean much when coming together in this particular way.
Back in 2010, when the current FCC chairman introduced the Open Internet Order, AT&T came out in support of it. The release of Open Internet Principles in 2005 was met with similar agreement. Quinn provides historical instances where AT&T stood in support of an open internet as proof that the carrier's disagreement with the FCC about Title II regulations is strictly limited to those regulations, and how they are written and enforced. These laws, according to Quinn, even hurt AT&T's bottom line enough to stifle innovation by preventing the company from investing in its modern infrastructure as it would have liked to. He goes on to say that AT&T, together with others showing support during the day of action, hope to show the federal government that Title II regulations should not apply to modern internet providers, and that there are alternatives to ensuring an open internet.