According to AT&T Senior VP Bob Quinn, it take quite a few lawyers to figure out Net Neutrality. “Since the Open Internet Order came out we’ve had weekly calls with the business units and literally 15 lawyers who are all trying to figure out whether that stuff we’ve invested in… would be a violation of the order,” he said at the Phoenix Center’s Annual US Telecoms Symposium. According to Politico. “We’ve had to shelve a bunch of stuff because we’ve got to wait and see.”
Quinn appears to be expressing some bitterness in light of T-Mobile’s controversial new Binge On plan, which allows customers to stream unlimited video from some providers on its network without counting it against their data cap. Politico wrote that Quinn said that “there’s no way AT&T would have been able to first offer something like T-Mobile’s Binge On video streaming plan, since the company couldn’t predict how the FCC would respond.”
FCC Chairman Wheeler apparently gave full support to T-Mobile’s Binge On. Wheeler said “Its clear in the Open Internet Order that we said we are pro-competition and pro-innovation,” .. “Clearly this meets both of those criteria. It’s highly innovative and highly competitive.”
At&T has apparently had to shelve a bunch of plans it had around zero rating due to uncertainty around how the FCC would respond. So AT&T is fearing to tread where T-Mobile rushes in. This summer, AT&T faced a $100 million fine from the FCC for limiting “unlimited” data plans. In July, the company, which initially called net neutrality “a tragic step in the wrong direction,” said it would agree to stricter net neutrality rules if it gets FCC approval for its $49 billion purchase of DirecTV.
Later today, a new Net Neutrality challenge is set to go before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, marking the third such hearing on the issue. A three-judge bench will hear oral arguments against net neutrality. However, the decision from the US Appeals Court for the DC Circuit is not expected until next year.
The same court, the three-judge D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, has twice rejected the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. But this time around, the FCC reclassified broadband as a utility in order to address doubts about its authority to establish the rules. The FCC’s authority will be the big question.