AT&T And Its Teleco Toadies Implore FCC To Delay Net Neutrality Rules

As expected would happen, AT&T along with several other telecoms and cable companies have reportedly filed a stay request to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from reclassifying broadband Internet service as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act, a piece of legislation that's over 80 years old.

The FCC made the ruling back in February, and by reclassifying broadband as a public utility, the government arm gave itself power to implement net neutrality rules. At the same time, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler made it clear that the fear mongering over implementing dated legislation to regulate broadband may make for "a good sound bite, but is misleading when used to describe the modernized version of Title II."

As part of the ruling, the FCC implemented three baseline rules to prevent Internet service providers from blocking access to legal content, throttling Internet traffic, and offering paid prioritization, otherwise known as Internet fast lanes.

AT&T Building
Image Source: Flickr (Mike Mozart)

The FCC also assured that it will not apply more than 700 rules under Title II to the Open Internet Order, "nor will our actions result in the imposition of any new federal taxes or fees," which was one of the concerns of those who opposed to the Order.

Nevertheless, AT&T and company argue that complying with the Order would result in "crushing" costs on ISPs that would prvent them from investing in network upgrades. And perhaps in a play to win favor from the public, the stay request does not ask that the FCC rescind its rules prohibiting paid prioritization.

However, if the stay requested is granted, the FCC would again be powerless to implement rules regulating the broadband Internet industry. The FCC already tried going that route and was shot down in the U.S. Court of Appeals, which essentially ruled that since broadband providers weren't classified as common carriers at the time, the FCC couldn't regulate them as such.