Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm
The U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology today held a hearing on H.J. Res 37, disapproving of the FCC’s net neutrality order, which the Commission adopted in December. Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, delivered the following statement:
Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo, Chairman Upton, Chairman Waxman, Chairman Barton, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on behalf of my company, AT&T. I recognize it is unusual to be asked to testify on a resolution on which we’ve not taken a position. However, as I’m sure all of you know, we have been involved for years in the issue that underlies H.J. Res. 37, and that is the protracted dispute over net neutrality regulation by the FCC.
Let me first stress that AT&T has long supported the “broadband principles” laid out by the FCC six years ago. We support an open Internet, and have promised to abide by that concept. But like many issues that start from a shared belief, this one quickly devolved into a long and contentious debate over specifics: whether the FCC should be able to enforce the broadband principles; whether a broad set of rules was needed; what legal authority the FCC has to put any such rules in place. And all of this despite any real evidence of a problem.
As in most regulatory debates, this one has not lacked for radical voices. Many sought heavy-handed government regulation and control of free markets… some for commercial advantage, others to advance their own ideology. Since this debate began back in 2005, AT&T has consistently opposed any FCC regulation of Internet services or facilities. This is still our strong preference today. We feel the antitrust laws, the Federal Trade Act, and the discipline of highly competitive markets are more than adequate to police any potential abuses.