Jan 24, 2018

Tech says no to AT&T's net neutrality pitch

Net neutrality protesters

Net neutrality protesters. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tech and its allies in the net neutrality fight aren’t pleased with AT&T’s ad blitz arguing they should be subject to neutrality requirements, too.

Real talk: For now the two sides of this debate are talking past each other, so the ads and tech's response are political theatre.

  • “It is impossible to believe that AT&T is serious when they have such a long track record opposing consumer protections like net neutrality,” said Noah Theran, a spokesman for the trade group Internet Association that represents Google and Facebook.
  • “Online platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon wield tremendous power,” said Matt Wood from Free Press. “But no matter how much it wants to pretend otherwise, when a company like AT&T connects you to the internet, that’s not the same thing as the information and content you find online.”

While ISPs would no doubt enjoy the certainty of legislation, they’ve already gotten what they want in the FCC’s repeal of the last net neutrality rules. And tech and the left have already decided on a near-term path forward.

  • They’ll sue to block the FCC repeal in federal court.
  • They’ll try and block it in Congress through a longshot resolution under the Congressional Review Act.
  • Democratic governors and state legislatures are moving to make net neutrality rules a reality at the state level. Governors in New York and Montana signed orders this week that would apply net neutrality rules to ISPs that worked with the state. Those could also be challenged in court.
Go deeper