Posts Tagged ‘net neutrality’

Telecomm industry embroiled in fight on net neutrality

Monday, December 6th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Approximately 33% of freshman Congressmen in the 112th congressional session received donations from either Verizon, AT&T or both this campaign season, as the telecommunications carriers gear up for a big fight on net neutrality.

Groups on both sides of the Internet regulation issue have made a great number of lobbying contacts to Congressmen and FCC officials in anticipation of the Dec. 21 meeting to address regulation strategy.  Google and Comcast were among other big donors, though their donation strategies differed from those of Verizon and AT&T, who supported candidates with little discretion at all, even, in some cases, opponents in the same race.  Google’s support, for instance, was only for candidates with prior political experience, while Comcast targeted veterans it considers key players in the net neutrality battle.

The efforts are in response to FCC regulation over broadband access, following a decision by the DC Court of Appeals last spring which ruled the agency does not have the authority to regulate Internet service providers’ interference with web access.  Despite the ruling, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to outline his new broadband plan Wednesday.

In response to challenges to his authority to act on the issue in light of the court ruling by ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas) of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and a top member of its Internet subcommittee, Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.)  the New York Times reports that Genachowski “believes he has the legal authority to act because he argues that his plan would help spread broadband service more widely across the country, a priority that Congress has established as one of the F.C.C.’s mandates.”

Verizon faces up-Hill battle on communication

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 by Vbhotla

Verizon, known as having one of the more active lobbying staffs in the technology industry, is again embroiled in a battle with the FCC, this time over broadband access to mobile devices.  The FCC is contemplating regulations that would require large mobile carriers, including Verizon and its top competitor AT&T, to open their data networks to smaller mobile carriers.

With an incoming Congress that will favor less regulation, Verizon could find itself increasing Hill activity even more.  The proposed change, part of a larger broadband reclassification effort by the FCC, is slated for a vote at the commission’s December meeting.  The reclassification is favored by net neutrality proponents, but opposed by carriers.  Verizon has battled against the FCC on the overall issue of net neutrality, spending over $14.7million through the first three quarters on lobbying against the issue.

Broadband reclassification and net neutrality are not the only topics with which Verizon takes issue.  The company, which has by far the top presence on Internet laws on the Hill, also lobbies Congressmen on issues around taxation, the patent reform, healthcare and international trade regulation, in addition to other efforts.

Verizon’s lobbying efforts don’t stop there.  The communications giant is also notoriously involved in state and local lobbying in New York, and a large contributor to campaigns it deems worthwhile.  It has also been linked to the fiscally conservative Tea Party in Cincinnati.  With the issues of net neutrality and taxes center stage in the new Congress, expect Verizon’s presence on Capitol Hill to increase, not decline, in the coming months.