AT&T to Congress: Create an ‘Internet Bill of Rights’

The telecom’s CEO Randall Stephenson called for Congress, not regulators, to establish principles surrounding the governance of data and access to service.

by Arnessa Garrett, The Dallas Morning News / January 25, 2018
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(TNS) — In an open letter running in several newspapers today, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson calls on Congress to pass laws governing how ISPs and internet companies do business in order to protect consumers.

Stephenson's call comes a little more than a month after the Federal Communications Commission took steps to roll back net neutrality, or the principle that all content on the internet should be treated equally by service providers.

In the letter, Stephenson said it is Congress and not regulators who should be the ones to determine the rules of the road to ensure that all internet companies are treated equally.

Dallas-based AT&T and other service providers have faced regulations from the FCC, while internet giants who control a lot of consumer data such as Facebook and Google have not faced similar restrictions.

In the letter, Stephenson notes that the FCC under four different presidents has taken different approaches and says the rules should not depend on who's in office.

"It is time for Congress to end the debate once and for call, by writing new laws that govern the internet and protect consumers," he writes.

Still confused about what net neutrality is and why it matters. Today, Burger King of all places released an ad to explain it that's getting lots of attention.

AT&T, which is fighting the government's attempts to block its merger with Time Warner, has faced criticism for its views on net neutrality. Critics say the company is being hypocritical by pretending to support open internet while also seeking to favor its own content over others on platforms it controls like DirecTV Now.

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