STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

AT&T wants Congress to pass a net neutrality law

AT&T is calling on Congress to settle the internet freedom debate by passing a federal net neutrality law.In a...

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 11:59 AM
Updated: Jan 24, 2018 11:59 AM

AT&T is calling on Congress to settle the internet freedom debate by passing a federal net neutrality law.

In a full-page ad appearing in multiple U.S. newspapers on Wednesday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said his company has suffered from regulatory whiplash. Various presidential administrations and government agencies have pursued wildly differing internet policies over the past decade.

AT&T wants clarity.

"It is time for Congress to end the debate once and for all, by writing new laws that govern the internet and protect consumers," Stephenson wrote.

He wants Congress to establish an "Internet Bill of Rights" that guarantees net neutrality, an open internet, and privacy protection for customers. Stephenson said the law should apply equally to all telecommunications companies.

U.S. broadband companies, including AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Spectrum, have largely opposed the government's past attempts to implement net neutrality regulation. For example, AT&T sued the FCC in 2015 in an attempt to block its net neutrality order that gave the government far more oversight of the broadband industry.

Consumer advocates say internet service providers like AT&T want to favor some websites, apps and services over others.

Related: More than 20 states sue to stop FCC's net neutrality repeal

It might seem surprising to see AT&T lobbying Congress to regulate the internet. Yet AT&T and Comcast have long championed a legislative solution.

AT&T benefits if everybody plays by the same rules. That has become a bigger threat after the Republican-controlled FCC voted last year to undo its 2015 net neutrality order. In response, several states have laid the groundwork to pass their own net neutrality laws.

For any big company, the only things worse than federal regulation are dozens of different state regulations.

"Because the internet is so critical to everyone, it's understandably confusing and a bit concerning when you hear the rules have recently changed, yet again," Stephenson wrote. "Legislation would ... provide consistent rules of the road."

Lawmakers in both parties have expressed support for net neutrality legislation, though its prospects remain unclear. It's possible but uncertain that the country's largest telecommunications company lobbying for a bill could usher it through a Republican-controlled Congress and White House.

AT&T may also have trouble getting consumer advocates on board. Stephenson didn't provide any specifics, including whether the bill of rights would block controversial "fast lanes" for services and sites that pay broadband companies for preferential treatment.

Yet Stephenson said AT&T intends to work with Congress, consumer advocacy groups and its broadband competitors in a push for a permanent legislative solution.

Meanwhile, AT&T says it is committed to net neutrality.

"We don't block websites. We don't censor online content. And we don't throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content. Period," Stephenson wrote.

AT&T proposed buying CNN parent company Time Warner in 2016, but the Justice Department has sued to block the deal. The trial is set to begin in March.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
26° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 26°
Columbus
Clear
22° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 22°
Oxford
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 23°
Starkville
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 23°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather