AT&T Talks Tech about User-Directed Prioritization

AT&T execs had a tech talk with the FCC this week as part of its pitch for a user-generated approach to commercially reasonable discrimination.

AT&T is suggesting that the FCC's new network neutrality rules could include a rebuttable presumption against ISP-generated discrimination, but allow for user-directed discrimination. For example, say a real-time gamer who wants to prioritize that service, where jitter can ruin the user experience, over e-mail where a second or two delay is not noticeable.

According to a filing with the FCC, Bill Smith, president of technology operations for AT&T, met with the FCC's chief technology officer Scott Jordan to discuss how AT&T business customers prioritize traffic using protocols like DiffServ, a network architecture for prioritizing some traffic, real-time voice or streaming media, for example, over other services.

They also talked about AT&T's prioritization of U-verse services.

Smith then made the point of how the technology could be used to provide for user-directed prioritization. He said that the consumer and edge provider might have to mark traffic for prioritization, and ISPs would need to establish "appropriate arrangements" for that.

Also at the meetings were Bob Quinn, Gary Phillips and Henry Hultquist of AT&T and Antonio Sweet of the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.