Wireless Cos. Argue For Open Internet-Lite

Clearly concerned about recent FCC signals that extending wired Open Internet anti-discrimination rules to wireless broadband is still very much on the table, CTIA: The Wireless Association is talking up the spectrum shortage as an argument for not doing so.

In a blog posting CTIA vice president of regulatory affairs Scott Bergmann talked about the need for freeing up more spectrum for dedicated LTE and how U.S. leadership is threatened by other countries' clearing "significant bands" of spectrum for their wireless industries.

But he also said the issue had important network neutrality implications. "Given the comparative spectrum shortage faced by U.S. operators, wireless providers must be able to manage their networks so that all users have a solid user experience," he said.

In a letter to Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee, and other members of the House, CTIA: The Wireless Association President Meredith  Baker, has urged them to urge the FCC to retain he 2010 Open Internet order's "mobile specific" approach to regs given the "unique engineering, competitive and legal conditions" of 4G LTE, rather than a one-size-fits both wired and wireless approach.

Earlier this week, at a network neutrality hearing in Sacramento, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn signaled she is concerned about different rules for wired and wireless. "[I]f we have a different standard," she said, "will it disproportionally impact communities that rely on their mobile device for connectivity?" Minorities, for example, are disproportionate users of mobile devices as their primary or only link to the web.

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.