AT&T Statement on Broadband Network Management Practices
February 25, 2008 11:19 PM
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today conducted a public hearing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on broadband network management practices. The policy framework for these practices is enshrined in the FCC's open Internet policy statement, which was enacted in August 2005 to encourage broadband deployment and to preserve the open and interconnected nature of the Internet.
"AT&T has long supported the FCC's open Internet principles and believes the authority of the FCC to uphold and safeguard these principles is best conducted on a case-by-case review of the specific facts.
"While the particulars regarding the allegations against Comcast are not public, it is clear that broadband providers have a responsibility to appropriately manage network congestion so that all consumers can access lawful content over high-quality broadband connections at affordable rates consistent with the FCC's principles.
"Today's FCC hearing made clear that even as AT&T and other network providers are investing billions of dollars in bigger and smarter broadband pipes, legitimate network management practices are also necessary to ensure the escalating network congestion does not unfairly usurp broadband capacity to frustrate and slow down the online experience of the overwhelming majority of Internet users.
"Network management practices are as complex and dynamic as the Internet itself. Every hour of every day, network engineers must devise creative solutions to new problems, ranging from unexpected equipment failures and spikes in bandwidth demand, to the proliferation of viruses, worms, spyware, denial-of-service attacks, and other threats to network security.
"A government ban on valid network-management practices would lower service quality for all customers, increase prices for the vast majority of consumers, and dampen investment incentives to bring broadband lines to rural and underserved areas. That type of elitist public policy would be wholly inconsistent with Communication Act's stated purpose of ensuring affordable broadband services for all Americans."
— Robert Quinn, AT&T's Senior Vice President - Federal Regulatory