The day before Republican lawmakers took the wraps off of their net neutrality bill, wireless market rivals Sprint and Verizon offered contrasting viewpoints on the subject of Title II regulation in letters delivered to the FCC.
Sprint told FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in its letter that “light touch” application of Title II to wireless carriers is unlikely to “harm the continued investment in, and deployment of, mobile broadband services.” Sprint stipulated, however, that any decision to apply Title II regulation to mobile broadband should incorporate “appropriate forbearance” and must also recognize the “unique network management challenges” of wireless carriers. As it emphasized that, “competition, not regulation, will provide consumers the best mobile services at the lowest price,” Sprint urged both Congress and the FCC in Friday’s letter “not to be distracted by debates over Title II but to focus on competition.”
Verizon’s letter to the FCC, which criticizes the FCC’s proposed Title II regulatory track as “unnecessary . . . and bad public policy,” includes the results of independently-commissioned research that Verizon says backs its claim of vigorous competition in the wireless and wireline broadband markets. Pointing to research results demonstrating that broadband providers do not possess a “terminating access monopoly” that enables them to restrict consumer choice, Verizon informed the FCC that “any restrictions on access to the content or services of online providers would lower demand for the network itself, which would . . . inhibit the ability of the wireless broadband provider to attract new customers.”