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AT&T swears it was about to offer you a bunch of amazing deals, but then net neutrality happened

Published Dec 3rd, 2015 8:20AM EST
AT&T Vs. FCC Net Neutrality

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Friends, AT&T has some tragic news for you. You see, it had planned to unveil several awesome promotions, deals and initiatives that you would have loved… but then the mean old Federal Communications Commission and its net neutrality rules had to get involved.

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As Ars Technica reports, AT&T senior vice president Bob Quinn said this week that AT&T has had to “shelve a bunch of stuff” that it wanted to do for fear of running afoul of the FCC’s net neutrality rules. Quinn says that every time the company has an idea, it has “literally 15 lawyers who are all trying to figure out whether that stuff we’ve invested in… would be a violation of the order.”

This sounds like quite the burden for poor little AT&T, which has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to delivering value to consumers. We all remember all of the amazing offers that AT&T had to cancel after the government squashed its proposed T-Mobile merger. And after all, it’s not like T-Mobile has done anything to shake up the industry ever since the merger died.

OK, in all seriousness: It’s extremely hard to take AT&T seriously at all here. The company is dealing entirely in counterfactuals that are impossible to disprove.

Here’s what we do know: The FCC’s net neutrality rules haven’t stopped carriers from preparing to make major investments in spectrum on the 600Mhz band. They haven’t stopped T-Mobile from taking risks on initiatives like Binge On. They haven’t stopped ISPs from making major investments in improving networks.

We may never know what amazing awesomeness that AT&T planned to unleash upon the world before the FCC got involved but chances are we aren’t missing out on all that much.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.