Economy

Tennessee Lawmakers to ISPs: Maintain Net Neutrality or Lose Government Contracts

Tennessee Lawmakers to ISPs: Maintain Net Neutrality or Lose Government Contracts”

AT&T says it's exhausted of political flip flopping on net neutrality and called on Congress to pass a law that would permanently settle the matter of Internet freedom in a series of full-page newspaper ads in the New York Times and Washington Post Wednesday morning. When led by Democrat Tom Wheeler, the FCC said AT&T's implementation of paid data cap exemptions violated net neutrality.

"It would be a lot easier to take AT&T at their word if they hadn't spent more than $16 million past year alone lobbying to kill net neutrality and privacy protections for internet users", said Evan Greer, an activist with the pro-net neutrality group Fight for the Future. Under that concept the cost to carry a photo from a website or a streaming video movie from a company like Netflix, remained the same.

"While the FCC doesn't recognize that startups and small businesses rely on a free and open internet to succeed, it is clear Governor Cuomo does", said Julie Samuels, executive director of Tech:NYC. "States across the country are stepping up to the plate to ensure that consumers have free and open access to the internet".

Of course if you've been following along at home, AT&T is the very last company that should be giving advice on any of these subjects. One, get a shitty, loophole-filled net neutrality law on the books that would pre-empt efforts to restore the FCC's 2015 rules or any Congressional or FCC attempt to pass real, tough rules down the line.

"This, rather than a patchwork of state and local government approaches is what is needed", according to the Cable Telecommunications Association of NY, an industry trade group.

USA broadband companies, including AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Spectrum, have largely opposed the government's past attempts to implement net neutrality regulation. In the letter, Stephenson shares his ideas for how to "end the debate [on net neutrality] once and for all" and states that AT&T is "committed to an open Internet".

"It's the power of the NY purse", Fahy said.

On one hand, groups like the Internet Innovation Alliance that side with AT&T and other Tier 1 service providers on protesting using Title II as the basis for the 2015 net neutrality rules, agree that Congress needs to act on the net neutrality issue.

California lawmakers are looking at similar measures. Earlier this month, more than 20 states and the District of Columbia sued the FCC over its decision.

"It would be a lot easier to take AT&T at their word if they hadn't spent more than $16 million previous year alone lobbying to kill net neutrality and privacy protections for Internet users", said Evan Greer, an activist with the pro-net neutrality group Fight for the Future.

Outside government, the net neutrality debate has pitted giant ISPs like Charter Communications or Verizon against content providers who fear they could be charged more for transmitting some of their products.

If an ISP charges more for additional speed of bandwidth, the website would have to decide whether to live with the slower connection or pay more, which could be passed on to consumers.

School districts in NY said they too are looking at their legal options.

Travis LeBlanc, the former FCC enforcement bureau chief who is now a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, said the states will ultimately decide the future of net neutrality.

Twitter blocking certain tweets or app stores rejecting apps are greater threats to the open Internet than ISPs blocking or throttling websites, Pai said at the time.



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