Today, ATR filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission urging them to avoid regulations on wireless broadband and other specialized broadband services.  Amidst their effort to regulate the Internet under onerous sections of a 1930s telecom law, the FCC has asked whether wireless and other broadband services should be subject to such rules.  The inquiry’s comment period punts the question of broadband regulation until just after the November election, teeing up an interesting battle between the FCC and a lame duck Congress, which opposes the FCC’s radical regulatory plan by a vast bipartisan majority.

Our comments focus on why regulations on wireless broadband and specialized services (such as companies paying ISPs to ensure data heavy content reaches consumers) are unjustified, go against longstanding precedent, and would be disastrous for consumers and future investment.  Instead, we urge the FCC once again to defer to Congress and keep its meddling hands off the free and working Internet altogether.  Excerpts from the comments:

"The Commission is yet again allowing the tail to wag the dog.  First, with this Further Inquiry the Commission continues its push for overly onerous Title II regulations in the name of Network Neutrality.  Now, the Commission has set their sights on regulating or banning specialized services due to the mere potential for such services to supplant Net Neutrality rules, which also have been proposed to combat a mere potential harm.  The Commission has yet to justify action on Title II and Net Neutrality, let alone justify regulating or limiting the ability for ISPs to provide specialized services.  Like Net Neutrality, the only justification here would be to cement the Commission’s backwards looking worldview into law that broadband Internet networks are stagnant, dumb pipes.

"While we maintain that neither wired nor wireless broadband should be subject to the Commission’s proposed regulations, it is evident that Title II regulations would have a different impact on wireless networks than wired networks.  Wireless networks have significantly more variables that can impact capacity and bandwidth.  Signal strength is dependant on location and physical barriers; the number of users connecting to a transmission source changes rapidly, with users switching between towers and coverage areas frequently; spectrum capacity is significantly lower.  For these reasons, we appreciate the Commission’s recognition that wireless deserves a second look."

CLICK HERE to read our comments in full.