Memos and follow-up bouncing around between AT&T and the FCC appear (keyword-appear) to have AT&T pledging that if the FCC breaks its 2-2 deadlock and approves the acquisition of BellSouth, then AT&T will be good.
Broadband everywhere, free broadband modems handed out like Santa on Christmas morn, a pledge to hold the line on rate requests, more flexible ADSL service plans. You name it.
The section of AT&T's memo dealing with Net Neutrality especially caught my eye.
"Effective on the Merger Closing Date, and continuing for thirty months therafter, AT&T/ BellSouth will conduct business in a manner that comports with the principles set forth in the FCC's Policy Statement, issued September 23, 2005.
The policy statement is FCC 05-151.
Time to revisit the key elements of that statement:
The statement says in part that:
"The Commission has jurisdiction necessary to ensure that providers of telecommunications for Internet access or Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) services are operated in a neutral manner. Moreover, to ensure that broadband networks are widely deployed, open, affordable, and accessible to all consumers, the Commission adopts the following principles:
To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
I'm sorry, but this language sounds so overgeneralized, that it is full of holes. All this says is that service providers shouldn't block lawful Internet content, countenance "legal devices" for that purpose, and to allow for competition among providers.
So maybe AT&T says they are fostering competition by competing with, say, Comcast for Internet access services? Doesn't say anything about stealth blockages or slowdowns.
And also, why only 30 months? This reminds me of the "safety zone, next 10 miles" signs on the highway. What happens after 10 miles? Drive like hell?