AT&T Promises to Follow 2010 Open Internet Order if DirecTV Merger is Approved

AT&T said yesterday that it would follow the FCC's old net neutrality rules for three years if the government approves its acquisition of DirecTV. It's a miracle. This is despite the fact that the D.C. circuit of the federal Appeals court basically put those rules out to dry, noting that the FCC didn't have the authority to regulate broadband service providers because they are not "common carrier" under Title II of the Telecommunications Act (Verizon v. FCC).

AT&T said over the weekend that its merger with DirecTV would come with a "continued commitment for three years after closing to the FCC's Open Internet protections established in 2010, irrespective of whether the FCC re-establishes such protections for other industry participants following the DC Circuit Court of Appeals vacating those rules."

AT&T's proposal is modeled after the seven-year commitment Comcast made when it purchased NBC Universal in 2011, where Comcast essentially agreed to follow the 2010 Open Internet Order until 2018 regardless of whether it held up in court. But in two statements last week, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen said that he doesn't believe the 2010 order prohibits fast lanes or paid prioritization.

AT&T was not clear on what it means by following the 2010 Open Internet Order in either its SEC filing or a conference call it held with investors earlier today.

"If all they're saying is they'll follow the 2010 rules, I'm sure it's their own interpretation of what those rules allow," Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge told Ars Technica. "It's probably in its interest to keep things as vague as possible."

Arts Technica has more on what AT&T's thinking might be on "following the 2010 Open Internet Order." It is likely along the same lines as what Comcast promised to do when it got approval to merge with NBC Universal. It is an interesting interpretation that benefits Comcast, who thinks it has the right to create fast lanes for companies like Netflix…

You can reread the whole thing here.

Source: Ars Technica

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