GSMA says it supports open internet in letter to Obama

GSMA “deeply concerned” about Obama stance on net neutrality

14 NOV 2014
Anne Bouverot, GSMA

Anne Bouverot, GSMA director general, called for a continued light-touch regulation approach that has successfully underpinned the success of the internet in an open letter to President Obama

Bouverot (pictured) wrote that operators are “deeply concerned about the impact that your [Obama’s] endorsement of re-classification of the internet as a Title II utility-like telecom service will have on the future of the internet”.

Earlier this week, the President called for tighter government regulation of internet providers.

But Bouverot argued that heavy-handed regulation could stifle the very innovation and investment that has fostered the US leadership in the tech sector.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is due to take a vote on net neutrality next year.

Its chairman, Tom Wheeler, has taken a different, more nuanced, stance than Obama by seeking to guarantee net neutrality while also taking on board the concerns of leading players such as AT&T and Verizon.

In 2010, the FCC recognised that mobile broadband needed to be treated differently to fixed services, hence the need for light touch regulation. “This conclusion is as relevant today as it was in 2010,” argued Bouverot in the letter.

She added: “Yet, calls to make wireline utility rules fully applicable to mobile broadband, even if recognising the unique technical challenges of managing wireless networks, repudiates the FCC’s own earlier conclusions and will harm investment and innovation in a critical infrastructure and the consumers that rely upon it.”

Bouverot’s letter points out: “The FCC has the authority, under Section 706, to establish and tailor appropriate rules to protect consumers and competition in today’s broadband world. This power is substantive and full, and thus renders re-classification under Title II unnecessary. We urge you to reconsider your plan to regulate the internet, which threatens its very future.”

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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