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AT&T Statement re: President Obama’s Plan for the Government to Regulate the Internet

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The following statement can be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President, External & Legislative Affairs:

“Today’s announcement by the White House, if acted upon by the FCC, would be a mistake that will do tremendous harm to the Internet and to U.S. national interests. It is a complete reversal of a bipartisan policy that has been in place since the Clinton Administration-namely, to treat Internet access as an information service subject to light-touch regulation. This classification of Internet service has been upheld by the Supreme Court and has enjoyed strong Congressional support for nearly a generation. Now, with one statement, the White House is telling the FCC to ignore this precedent and to instead impose on the entire Internet-from end to end-onerous government regulation designed in the 1930s for a Bell phone monopoly that no longer exists, not for a 21st century technology. This will have a negative impact not only on investment and innovation, but also on our economy overall.

“For a generation, the Internet has been an American success story. Light-touch regulation has encouraged levels of investment unprecedented by any industry and spawned incredible innovation. Today’s action puts all of that at risk-and puts it at risk not to remedy any specific harm that has occurred. Instead, this action is designed to deal with a hypothetical problem posed by certain political groups whose objective all along has been to bring about government control of the Internet. The White House is proposing to put the Internet and our economy at risk as a result of such political pressures.

“We feel the actions called for by the White House are inconsistent with decades of legal precedent as well as Congressional intent. Moreover, if the government were going to make such a momentous decision as regulating the entire Internet like a public utility, that decision is more properly made by the Congress and not by unelected regulators without any public record to support the change in regulation. If the FCC puts such rules in place, we would expect to participate in a legal challenge to such action.”

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