With its thumb permanently on the throat, er, pulse of public opinion, AT&T has decided to tell the word plus dog to sod off on net neutrality.
The US’ largest telco has decided that the debate has gone on long enough and since no one is doing what it is told, it is telling the FCC, Verizon and Google, and net neutrality groups to take a hike.
The company, which has come to symbolise all that is great about corporate America, says that even if the FCC brings in new laws to enforce net neutrality it will have no effect on its ability to charge companies more for priority Internet access.
AT&T’s Hank Hulquist said that reclassification is not much of a threat to prioritisation. The FCC has decades of precedence of tariffs that were deemed lawful for the provision of prioritisation.
Basically he claims that the laws already allow for a two-tiered world wide wibble and those involved in the debate are just wasting their time.
Neutrality advocates want “paid priority access” banned or at least sharply circumscribed. But AT&T thinks that is not going to happen just by “reclassifying” the broadband providers which is the most extreme idea on the table at the moment.
If a company is prepared to stump up shed loads of cash to get priority, AT&T is fairly sure that it is in the clear if it provides the service and there is nothing that the FCC or the great unwashed can do about it.
We wonder if all those American revolutionaries would have signed up to overthrow their lawful and fair government if they knew that their “freedom” was just replacing a constitutional monarchy with a corporate oligarchy with laws written by lobby groups. Makes a penny on tax a year seem like a small price to pay for a sensible democracy.