The two largest wireless providers in the US, Verizon and AT&T,
are not cool with the FCC’s new push for Network Neutrality
. On Monday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
gave a speech
outlining plans to create a set of binding Net Neutrality rules that would extend to the wireless industry. AT&T claimed regulation was not needed saying, "AT&T has long supported the principle of an open Internet and has conducted its business accordingly."
The companies also argue that wireless service is a different animal, and Net Neutrality practices may not be feasible. "On a wireline broadband network, you know where your customer is," said Verizon VP of Regulatory Affairs. "So you can build capacity to handle the peak demands. But on a wireless network, you have a crowd converge on a site that suddenly has 10 times or 100 times the users competing for the same resources."
AT&T and Verizon both pointed out that they were behind the FCC initiative for wired broadband, just not for their wireless networks. Verizon also called attention to their policy to allow any compatible, certified device to use its 3G network. Consumer advocates say that there are multiple non-neutral practices taking place on wireless broadband networks to be dealt with. VoIP applications, like Skype, often find themselves barred from operating on cellular 3G networks. With the FCC already investigating competition in the wireless industry, this may lead to still more hearings. Should Net Neutrality extend to cellular data networks? Let us know in the comments.