AT&T Favors 'Prioritized Access' Agreements

Lora Bentley

When the Federal Communications Commission first issued its proposed rules on network neutrality, AT&T was the first and loudest critic. The company wrote letters to the FCC, sent a representative to participate in a public debate on the issues during the Web 2.0 Expo in New York, and oddly enough, accused Google Voice of violating the very principles it was standing against.


Now it seems the telecom giant has experienced something of a change of heart. Ars Technica reports AT&T has submitted yet another letter to the FCC. This time, AT&T is fine with rules prohibiting discrimination against content as long as the final rules do not prohibit AT&T and other Internet service providers from crafting with content providers "voluntary commercial agreements for the paid provision of certain value-added broadband services."


Critics of AT&T's proposal point out that the FCC proposals as they currently exist do prohibit such "prioritized access" agreements. As Ars writer Matthew Lasar notes, however, the proposals would exempt "managed services" from the prohibition. Though the regulators have yet to define what services could be defined as "managed," Lasar suggests IP video may well be one of them.

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