AT&T CEO Stephenson says Congress needs to pass federal net neutrality law
Deadline is reporting that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is upset at the prospect of his company having to deal with all 50 states, each passing their own unique legislation to bring back the rules of net neutrality. During the Obama-era, the FCC passed net neutrality, a set of rules that at its core, forced ISPs and wireless carriers to treat all streams of content the same. Once President Donald Trump named Ajit Pai as chairman of the regulatory agency in January 2017, net neutrality was targeted to be repealed. That fate officially took place on June 11th of this year.
However, several states, including California, have passed legislature making net neutrality the law in those areas. Surveys have revealed that the majority of the country wants net neutrality to return, although the Trump administration sued California immediately after the net neutrality bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September. 22 state attorneys general and the AG of the District of Columbia, along with various companies, have filed a suit against the FCC in the U.S. Court of Appeals seeking the return of net neutrality.
Stephenson would like Congress to pass legislation that would prevent carriers from blocking certain types of content and throttling data speeds. He added that Congress should also pass laws giving consumers complete control over how their personal data can be used. This became a big issue in 2018 when it was revealed that as many as 87 million Facebook members had their personal data collected before the 2016 presidential election, without permission.
It obviously would be easier for a monolith like AT&T to deal with one federal law than 50 different state laws.