AT&T Pledges Commitment to Open Internet Following FCC Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson shared an open letter today on the topic of Net Neutrality, pledging that the company is "committed to an open internet" following the Federal Communications Commission's vote last month to repeal Net Neutrality.

In the letter, Stephenson said that AT&T does not block websites, censor online content, or throttle, discriminate, and degrade network performance based on a website's contents.

According to Stephenson, AT&T has committed to the support of an open internet "for over 10 years," and will continue to do so. Furthermore, he urged Congress to pen new laws to govern the internet and protect customers, putting an end to the ongoing change in rules and regulations placed on the internet. Stephenson called this the "Internet Bill of Rights."
But the commitment of one company is not enough. Congressional action is needed to establish an "Internet Bill of Rights" that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.

Legislation would not only ensure consumers' rights are protected, but it would provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies across all websites, content, devices and applications. In the very near future, technological advances like self-driving cars, remote surgery and augmented reality will demand even greater performance from the internet. Without predictable rules for how the internet works, it will be difficult to meet the demands of these new technology advances.
Under the repeal of Net Neutrality, internet service providers are reclassified from "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, to "information service" providers, which they had been previously between 1996 and 2015. This caused worry among Net Neutrality supporters, because companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and more will be legally allowed to block or slow down access to certain websites, or even charge access to sites.

While the FCC is still in the stages of finalizing the repeal of Net Neutrality, lawsuits have emerged aiming to stop the rollback of these rules and ensure that Net Neutrality remains. In the months ahead of the vote, Apple urged the FCC not to repeal Net Neutrality, which includes regulations that prevent "paid fast lanes" on the internet.

As pointed out by Recode, online fast lanes and "paid prioritization" are a few topics missing from Stephenson's letter. This aspect of Net Neutrality prevents an ISP -- like AT&T -- from charging websites more so that users can gain access to that site at a faster rate, while sites that can't afford the increased cost would see slow load times for users, leading to "fast lanes" and "slow lanes." When asked about the topic, AT&T pointed towards previous public posts where it discussed support of banning forms of paid prioritization over the years.

In the new letter, Stephenson ended by stating AT&T will work with Congress, other internet providers, and consumer groups this year in an attempt to move forward with its "Internet Bill of Rights" in hopes of "permanently" protecting the open internet.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: AT&T Pledges Commitment to Open Internet Following FCC Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
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The fox is promising to guard the hen house. Interesting.

Well, as much as At&T has annoyed me over the years, if you rattle the bars of your cage hard enough they actually will try to make you happy. It just takes several rounds through their customer service labrynth. But if you are polite, logical, reasonable and persistent you will eventually reach an employee with the brains and authority to help resolve your issue and try to leave you feeling like your time wasn't totally wasted.

That is not what I experienced with Verizon as a FIOS customer. I've not had Verizon as a cell provider, but my dad has. He worked for them for most of his civilian life and even he gets jerked around and abused by their policies.

And T-Mobile was fast tracking services even before ending net neutrality was a thing.

I have no idea where Sprint is these days. I barely remember what it's like to be their customer.

At any rate, out of all of the big names in the industry, I think AT&T would be more likely to say this and mean it. Kinda sorta maybe. ;)
 

JediZenMaster

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Mar 28, 2010
2,180
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Seattle
AT&T's commitment to open Internet - you mean like when they blocked Facetime from working on their cell network from 2010 to 2013 unless you signed up for their crap Mobile Share plans? Guess who was AT&T CEO during that time? Randall Stephenson.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy...pps-fails-to-mention-how-it-blocked-facetime/
People and companies do evolve over time and let’s also look at as far as myself as a Consumer if I don’t like the crap that a company is giving me then I can go elsewhere.

So if there are folks still upset over the FaceTime mobile share stuff then why even switch to a mobile share plan? Port your numbers out to a carrier that doesn’t have such a requirement.

However if you choose to put up with it then you put up with it.
 
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centauratlas

macrumors 65816
Jan 29, 2003
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The Federal Government is the biggest monopoly of them all and they have the power of the gun behind them. I don't want to give power to monopolies. I trust AT&T, Comcast, Verizon et al much more than I trust the Feds, not that is saying all that much, but least with the corporations there are options. With the Feds, you get what you get and you like it.
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
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The Federal Government is the biggest monopoly of them all and they have the power of the gun behind them. I don't want to give power to monopolies. I trust AT&T, Comcast, Verizon et al much more than I trust the Feds, not that is saying all that much, but least with the corporations there are options. With the Feds, you get what you get and you like it.
It will stay that way until (1) people start voting in higher proportions and (2) they educate themselves before casting their vote.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
People and companies do evolve over time and let’s also look at as far as myself as a Consumer if I don’t like the crap that a company is giving me then I can go elsewhere.

So if there are folks still upset over the FaceTime mobile share stuff then why even switch to a mobile share plan? Port your numbers out to a carrier that doesn’t have such a requirement.

However if you choose to put up with it then you put up with it.
1. You're arguing a point that has long ago been solved. For years.
2. Some companies evolve. Some don't. AT&T and their ilk fall into the latter category. There are too many examples of AT&T saying one thing that sounds customer friendly, while acting completely against customer interest.

The statement by the CEO of AT&T is disingenuous BS.
 

JediZenMaster

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Mar 28, 2010
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1. You're arguing a point that has long ago been solved. For years.
2. Some companies evolve. Some don't. AT&T and their ilk fall into the latter category. There are too many examples of AT&T saying one thing that sounds customer friendly, while acting completely against customer interest.

The statement by the CEO of AT&T is disingenuous BS.
Let’s not act like the other carriers are innocent either then. Also there are two masters a company have to serve its customers and it’s shareholders.

So consumer friendly and shareholder return rarely mix and that is where horns are locked.
 

H3LL5P4WN

macrumors 68030
Jun 19, 2010
2,585
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Pittsburgh PA
*cough*DirecTV Now*cough* Something something, neutrality.

...that being said, I miss my DTVN. So much nicer than the Comca$h package I'm stuck with because of a recent move.
 
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michaelant

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2006
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"As pointed out by Recode, online fast lanes and "paid prioritization" are a few topics missing from Stephenson's letter."

Yeah, they're missing because AT&T plans to institute them.

If they weren't, if they were actually pro-net neutrality, they would have said, "We believe in net neutrality, and we're not going to charge startups to get fast access to users."

This statement from them is pure BS spin.
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
Let’s not act like the other carriers are innocent either then. Also there are two masters a company have to serve its customers and it’s shareholders.

So consumer friendly and shareholder return rarely mix and that is where horns are locked.
No one is acting as if the others are innocent. Apologies if my point wasn't clear. All of the telecoms are full of BS. AT&T doesn't stand alone.

Shareholder stuff is BS as well. AT&T's stock does not benefit by them suing cities to stop them from offering municipal broadband. Neither does Comcast's. Neither does Verizon not completing it's promised broadband rollout. I could keep going but you get the point.
 
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patrickbarnes

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2012
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The Federal Government is the biggest monopoly of them all and they have the power of the gun behind them. I don't want to give power to monopolies. I trust AT&T, Comcast, Verizon et al much more than I trust the Feds, not that is saying all that much, but least with the corporations there are options. With the Feds, you get what you get and you like it.
Lol. Most people have no options. It’s either Comcast or... Comcast.

Anyone who “trusts” corporations is in for a a good life lesson.
 

samcraig

macrumors P6
Jun 22, 2009
16,637
41,601
USA
I remember you ATT. You offered unlimited data plans for cell phones and then squeezed most out by limiting new features to other plans and then upping rates for the unlimited plan. That ended well for you.
 

AdonisSMU

macrumors 604
Oct 23, 2010
6,603
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The Federal Government is the biggest monopoly of them all and they have the power of the gun behind them. I don't want to give power to monopolies. I trust AT&T, Comcast, Verizon et al much more than I trust the Feds, not that is saying all that much, but least with the corporations there are options. With the Feds, you get what you get and you like it.
Sounds like a lot of that right leaning libertarian crap that once you try it out doesn't actually work in real life. I trust the government more than I trust AT&T. I can vote people in an out of office. I don't get to have a say in the way AT&T runs its business as a customer of AT&T.
 

Aldaris

macrumors 68000
Sep 7, 2004
1,767
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Sounds like a lot of that right leaning libertarian crap that once you try it out doesn't actually work in real life. I trust the government more than I trust AT&T. I can vote people in an out of office. I don't get to have a say in the way AT&T runs its business as a customer of AT&T.
You’re not forced to do business with AT&T. You’re free to conduct business with Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Virgin, Cricket, Boost Mobile, or any other wireless carrier. The government changes and every 4-8 years (yes it can stay blue or red longer but in recent memory it is more or less back and forth). We all obviously didn’t vote for the same candidate-so why should any of us be forced to toe the line? Or in other words why should every facet of my life be flipped depending on “who’s in power”? A more educated and free populace is more important than just being ignorant, controlled and regulated. If any company wants to hold itself to the net neutrality standards or similarly the Paris Accord, good for them. Use that as a selling/marketing point. Feel free to educate and persuade as opposed to force and ignorance.

For all the hate already in this thread-see if AT&T lives up to it, if they do great, if not you have several other carriers to vote with your wallet.
 
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BlazednSleepy

macrumors 6502a
Apr 15, 2012
693
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You’re not forced to do business with AT&T. You’re free to conduct business with Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Virgin, Cricket, Boost Mobile, or any other wireless carrier. The government changes and every 4-8 years (yes it can stay blue or red longer but in recent memory it is more or less back and forth). We all obviously didn’t vote for the same candidate-so why should any of us be forced to toe the line? Or in other words why should every facet of my life be flipped depending on “who’s in power”? A more educated and free populace is more important than just being ignorant, controlled and regulated. If any company wants to hold itself to the net neutrality standards or similarly the Paris Accord, good for them. Use that as a selling/marketing point. Feel free to educate and persuade as opposed to force and ignorance.

For all the hate already in this thread-see if AT&T lives up to it, if they do great, if not you have several other carriers to vote with your wallet.
The problem with your argument is the power that these ISP's have. There's already a monopoly as it is, this just gives them even more power to screw over smaller companies and consumers. You really think that if AT&T decides to throttle and censor content that Verizon and Comcast won't? Its all about control for these companies. The second one company does it, they will all follow suit and we will all be screwed. You're forgetting who Ajit Pai worked for. Verizon.

One of the biggest mistakes our government made was to let corporate money control them. And this is a direct result of that mistake. I truly do hope that AT&T keeps their word, but with the amount of money they and others throw at our politicians, I have serious doubts they are going to stick to their word. This is nothing more than a marketing tactic to get people to trust them.
 

isomorphic

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2010
229
262
You’re not forced to do business with AT&T.

For all the hate already in this thread-see if AT&T lives up to it, if they do great, if not you have several other carriers to vote with your wallet.
You don't have to be beaten with a board, you can choose to be beaten by a crowbar, baseball bat, or wrench instead.

This argument is similar to the argument that we're not forced to deal with our local cable provider--we can simply use satellite (or some other alternative). All of the major alternatives to AT&T are either very similar in pricing structure and behavior, or are just MVNOs reselling AT&T. A new competitor offering net-neutral mobile data at consistent fair metered rates (even with margin) would be destroyed by anti-competitive behavior from the major vendors, regulatory capture, lawsuits, etc. Not to mention the capital necessary to start even a regional wireless provider.
 
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