AT&T, Verizon lash out at FCC after Net Neutrality ruling

The nation's two largest telco companies get personal -- and downright childish -- following the FCC's Net Neutrality decision.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

With an issue as hotly debated for months (and arguably years) as net neutrality, not everyone is going to be pleased with the final verdict.

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday that Internet service providers must provide equal broadband access to all Internet users and sites (i.e. Netflix, Amazon, etc.) without slowing down or speeding up sites for additional fees.

So guess who isn't happy about it? The Internet service providers.

Verizon Wireless and AT&T, the two largest telecommunications providers in the nation, have also been two of the most vocal opponents to net neutrality proposals.

Thus, perhaps it won't come as a surprise to virtually anyone that these two corporations are also lashing out after this morning's decision.

Jim Cicconi, senior vice president of external and legislative affairs who responsible for AT&T's global public policy organization and the AT&T Foundation, took things to a personal level in the first line of his response:

Perhaps I'm betraying my years, but in Washington policy circles there has always been tension between those interested in solving problems and those who see policy disputes as a test of ideology. I'd readily admit falling into the former camp, and have the policy scars to prove it.

After complaining about Beltway politics a bit more, Cicconi compared today's decision to 2010, describing the latest verdict as "a rejection of the compromise win and an embrace, however reluctant, of the political fight."

Verizon's response was even more full of sour grapes.

In fact, it looked downright childish starting with the coded landing page on its blog linked to a press release dated 1934 and meant to look like it was issued on a typewriter in an unprofessional effort to characterize the FCC's decision as a "Throwback Thursday" joke.

If anything, maybe this decision just brings Verizon and AT&T closer.

Obviously they're on the same page when it comes to decrying net neutrality as outdated and even archaic.

Cicconi questioned, "What doesn't make sense, and has never made sense, is to take a regulatory framework developed for Ma Bell in the 1930s and make her great grandchildren, with technologies and options undreamed of eighty years ago, live under it."

Verizon went back in time even further, lamenting "the Federal Communications Commission approved an order urged by President Obama that imposes rules on broadband Internet services that were written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph."

Both parties promised to keep fighting the decision.

"Partisan decisions taken on 3-2 votes can be undone on similarly partisan 3-2 votes only two years hence," Cicconi wrote. "And FCC decisions made without clear authorization by Congress (and who can honestly argue Congress intended this?) can be undone quickly by Congress or the courts."

For a full look at Verizon's "Throwback Thursday"-inspired press release, scroll through the document below:

Verizon's Response to FCC

Screenshot via Verizon's Policy Blog

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