AT&T, CenturyLink, others seek to nullify parts of new broadband regulation

5 May 2015

AT&T, CenturyLink and several telecoms and cable industry groups have called for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to scrap sections of its new rules on broadband internet regulation which come into effect on 12 June, citing excessive compliance costs and threats to investment, Reuters reports. The filings seek to block the regulator’s move to reclassify broadband internet as a more heavily regulated telecoms service, and a new broad general conduct standard that prohibits ISPs from ‘unreasonably interfering’ with consumers access to the web. While the requests are expected to be rejected by the FCC, the report adds that the actions pave the way for the industry to ask courts to pause the implementation of the rules while they are being litigated. Regional and local ISPs cited in the filings claimed the new rules will create costly compliance burdens and limit resources for improvements to broadband networks or new products, arguing that the complexity of the rules would be ‘crushing’ for small broadband providers with limited human and financial resources, pointing to the risk of immediate lawsuits and additional burdens from new privacy protection demands. Furthermore, AT&T executives said that it would cost their company around USD400 million in lost revenue to end current marketing practices in order to set up new procedures for compliance with tighter privacy protection requirements for broadband providers. The filings were made by: the US Telecom Association, CTIA-The Wireless Association, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association, AT&T, CenturyLink and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.