AT&T's Senior Executive Vice President-External and Legislative Affairs, James Cicconi, sent a letter to the FCC yesterday responding to FCC's Net Neutrality proposal. In it, Cicconi welcomes dialogue and agrees with some of the non-discriminatory internet principles the FCC wants to achieve. This appears to fly in the face of an internal letter he sent to employees in October. What turned AT&T around? Nothing. In fact the letter simply outlines that the company will only go so far with the principles of Net Neutrality as a concept. If it means strict regulatory definitions on what are defined as standards and performance parameters, then AT&T is expressing significant concerns with such legislation.
Cicconi cites a letter sent by Senator (Snowe - R- Maine) whom they agree with, suggesting that the costs of implementing Net Neutrality as the FCC envisions would be costly to implement and possibly prevent innovative new products and services. What AT&T is really driving at however is that implementing such rules take away AT&T's ability to offer managed internet services, increasing value add revenues to the bottom line. Cicconi opens the door for dialogue by endorsing the FCC next step, the Technical Advisory Process. This forum would allow AT&T to submit extensive data to explain how Net Neutrality would be costly and potentially be non-competitive in nature. These arguments will face stiff cross examination by the FCC and if AT&T gets it wrong, the consequences will have lasting effects.
Senator Snowe and AT&T are on a combined collision course that is likely to hit a firewall that they cannot breach.