AT&T CEO urges US Congress to pass net neutrality laws in order to prevent states from issuing their own laws

12 Nov 2018

At the Wall Street Journal D.Live Tech conference, Randall Stephenson, CEO at AT&T, said that "there are a number of states that are now passing their own legislation around privacy and, by the way, net neutrality." In this interview, Stephenson claims that these regulations "would be a total disaster for the technology and innovation you see happening in Silicon Valley and elsewhere is to pick our head up and have 50 different sets of rules for companies trying to operate in the United States." According to the Wall Street Journal, he talked that ISPs "should not be allowed to throttle somebody else's content", "there should be no blocking," and any device should be allowed to connect to the Internet without interference. Stephenson are looking for a federal law with only basic net neutrality rules like no blocking and no throttling, in order to prevent states from issuing their own stricter laws.


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The Internet’s success lies in its design, which is based on the principle of net neutrality. From the outset, the flow of all the content on the Internet was treated without discrimination. New entrepreneurs did not need permission or market power to innovate on the Internet. With the development of new digital services, especially the ones consuming high bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming, some Internet operators (telecom companies and ISPs) started prioritising certain traffic – such as their own services or the services of their business partners – based on business needs and plans, justifying such an approach with a need to raise funds to further invest in the network. Net neutrality proponents strongly fight back such plans arguing this could limit open access to information and online freedoms, and stifle online innovation.


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