Baker, during a House Energy Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet hearing on the national broadband plan. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)
The group representing wireless carriers is looking to Congress for help in trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission to continue treating mobile broadband differently from fixed broadband in its net neutrality rules, which has meant fewer requirements for mobile.
CTIA – The Wireless Association sent a letter to all lawmakers Thursday asking for “support in urging the Federal Communications Commission… to retain mobile-specific Open Internet rules that reflect the unique engineering, competitive, and legal conditions of today’s 4G LTE mobile network.”
The FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules didn’t apply to mobile broadband to the same extent as fixed broadband. In rewriting those rules (after the bulk of them were struck down by an appeals court earlier this year) the current Notice of Proposed Rulemaking before the FCC asks whether the agency should revisit that different treatment given big changes in the mobile market that have happened over the past few years.
CTIA has contended that mobile faces different technical issues than fixed broadband and that there’s more competition in the mobile marketplace, and in Thursday’s letter to lawmakers, the group’s president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker writes:
As the FCC contemplates revising its Open Internet rules, it is vitally important for the Commission to retain the mobile-specific approach that has governed the mobile industry since 2010. Under that approach, which recognized the very significant engineering differences between wireless and wireline networks, wireless operators have been able to compete, invest and innovate.
She goes on to write that: “Contrary to the assertions of some that wireless broadband’s success justifies a heavier regulatory burden, the industry’s record of investment, innovation and expanded consumer choice strongly suggests that the FCC got it right in 2010.”
The letter also calls on lawmakers to “direct the FCC to not reclassify mobile broadband as a Title II service,” contending that current law bars the agency from such action and that doing so would spur “litigation and uncertainty.”