The wireless industry’s commitment to an open internet remains unchanged
Jul 18, 2017
July 17, 2017
By: Scott Bergmann
The wireless industry believes in net neutrality and delivers an open, transparent mobile Internet experience. Always have and always will. Because our consumers—and the intensely competitive wireless market—demand it.
That’s why today we asked the FCC to return to a framework for regulating broadband that matches the dynamic nature of today’s wireless experience and fosters the investment and innovation key to maintaining America’s mobile leadership with tomorrow’s 5G networks. And to ensure this approach is made permanent, we’re calling on Congress to adopt bipartisan legislation that enshrines the principles of net neutrality once and for all.
We became the global leader in wireless because of our commitment to customer-driven openness and competition. We’re proud of that, because we know it’s America’s consumers who ultimately benefit.
We’re proud of a few other things too: That our subscribers can access the online content and services they want, when and how they want it. That nearly all Americans can choose between three or more mobile providers. And that as our networks serve more people than ever—while consuming more data than ever—we’re offering new services like unlimited data that meet our subscribers’ mobile-first lives.
From networks and handsets to apps and operating systems, the wireless industry is a quintessentially American story of innovation and enterprise.
Entrepreneurial minds saw the possibility of mobile connectivity: technologies were invented, risks were wagered, and capital was invested. All undertaken with no guarantee of success—in fact, in 1980 McKinsey couldn’t imagine why consumers would embrace wireless, estimating that our nascent industry would total just 900,000 subscribers by 2000. Only off by roughly 108 million.
Throughout this period of remarkable growth—as well as the development of high-speed mobile broadband—policymakers let the competitive wireless market flourish, with both parties supporting a light touch approach. The results speak for themselves: today, wireless coverage blankets the U.S., mobile device connections outnumber people in the country, and our consumers are paying less while getting more data.
So that made the FCC’s decision two years ago, subjecting wireless to Title II rules—hundreds of regulations created to govern the landline telephone monopoly in the 1930s—all the more perplexing. Adopting full utility-style regulation represented a major departure from the bipartisan agreement that advanced consumer interest in openness while promoting innovation, investment, and deployment.
The stakes are high. As countries like China project their 5G investment to total hundreds of billions, Title II serves as a roadblock to maximizing investment in America’s wireless networks. Reversing that Title II decision would represent a key step toward returning to the long-standing consensus that enabled a vibrant, competitive wireless market to invest and deliver the services consumers demanded.