AT&T® might not be the first Telco to find itself on the wrong side of the internet outrage. AT&T® had been an opponent of the government’s 2015 net neutrality rules for long and had once sued FCC in a failed bid to make them throw away the tougher rules. However, this has not stopped them from supporting Wednesday’s Day of Action, which is a day of online protest organized by the non-profit group named Fight for the Future.
The protest day was organized to speak out in favor of all the existing government regulations that are supporting and protecting an Open Internet policy. However, unlike the other service providers like Google®, Amazon®, Netflix®, and Facebook®, who have also support the fight, AT&T® might benefit from the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to revert the net neutrality rules and guidelines that were put forward by Tom Wheeler under the Obama Administration.
This might be the reason why it seemed so odd to the activists when they saw AT&T® coming out to push back against the rules, which is expected to allow the different cheap internet service providers to throttle the traffic to some of the websites.
“AT&T® are lying when they say they support net neutrality, while actively opposing it,” Fight for the Future Campaign Director, Evan Greer said. “If they want to support the Title II protections that we have now, which prevent them from shaking down Web sites for extra fees as part of ‘paid prioritization’ schemes, we’d be glad to have them as part of this protest. Until then, they’re just making noise to continue their campaign of misinformation.”
“This may seem like an anomaly to many people who might question why AT&T® is joining with those who have differing viewpoints on how to ensure an open and free Internet,” AT&T® lobbyist, Bob Quinn wrote in a blog post. “But that’s exactly the point—we all agree that an open Internet is critical for ensuring freedom of expression and a free flow of ideas and commerce in the United States and around the world.”
It is reported that AT&T® supports the basic rules that prevent the throttling of websites, even though the post from Quinn does not say that they would support banning the paid prioritization plan that will allow best internet providers like AT&T® charge websites or businesses for faster access.