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AT&T claims net neutrality is oppressive

Says that wireless is different
Mon Aug 16 2010, 12:00

US TELECOM AT&T has come out in support of Google's contention that wireless communications are different than wireline Internet services.

Last week Google and Verizon agreed on a deal that left wireless communications free to be carved up by telecoms operators and tiered for commercial exploitation. Given Google's stance as a supporter of net neutrality, it has faced widespread criticism and even had 100 or so demonstrators outside its doors claiming that it had sold out.

Google defended its deal with Verizon by saying that its users simply misunderstood technology and that wireless was somehow different from wired technology. It comes as no big surprise that AT&T has also adopted this patronising position to concur with Google and Verizon, its largest competitor.

The firm claimed that even long term evolution (LTE) networks have only a fraction of the bandwidth found in fibre-optic networks. It also claims that the wireless network companies often "split cells" by installing new towers, but that is restricted by local authorities.

AT&T has come up with a three point action plan that includes the deployment of HSPA+ and LTE networks, using WiFi and microcells and installing even more cell towers.

AT&T said that policy makers can help by "protecting wireless broadband networks from onerous new net neutrality regulations", which it claims is "vital to the continued growth of the industry". Or in other words, net neutrality will limit the profits it can extract from wireless services.

The bare-faced cheek of the company calling net neutrality 'onerous' is a disgrace and simply goes to show how much AT&T and the like care for their paying customers. As we and many others had predicted, Google's deal with Verizon has opened the floodgates for telecoms operators to make ridiculous claims in order to destroy net neutrality and promote their own agenda of what AT&T termed 'continued growth'.

It should also be noted that AT&T's statement made no reference to how its network performance affects its subscribers. Rather it reads like a sob story, except that it's being told by a company that raked in $123 billion in revenues and about 12.5 billion profit last year alone. µ



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