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CTIA: Mobile carriers still need lighter net neutrality rules

Grant Gross | Oct. 16, 2014
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission should not hold mobile carriers to the same net neutrality rules as it does for wired broadband providers because of unique mobile network management challenges, the head of the largest U.S. mobile trade group said.

"While not a true substitute for fixed [broadband] services, mobile [broadband] is increasingly relied upon by consumers as a critical, and often times sole, means of accessing the Internet," Beckerman wrote. "Particularly given the evolution of mobile [broadband] since 2010, any operational issues can be resolved through the use of reasonable network management."

Baker, in her speech Wednesday, disagreed. Beyond issues with limited spectrum, the U.S. mobile industry is "fiercely competitive," with about 80 percent of U.S. residents living in areas covered by four or more mobile carriers, she said.

"The competitive nature of mobile provides an important backdrop for issues like net neutrality," she said. "If carriers implement policies that aren't consumer-friendly, consumers will vote with their feet and move to another provider. The FCC should give pause before taking away consumer options or the drive to experiment in a competitive marketplace."

In addition, mobile broadband technology is changing quickly, with new LTE technologies and a range of wearable devices coming soon, said Baker, a former FCC commissioner.

Mobile broadband "remains very much an early-stage technology -- the benefits and applications of which we have only just begun to witness," she said.


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