Telecommunications giant is AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is urging U.S. lawmakers to pass a net neutrality law and put the online freedom debate to rest. In a full-page advertisement in a couple of newspapers in the United States, the chief executive officer of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, revealed that the telecommunications giant has suffered as a result of regulatory whiplash. This is because past administrations have pursued internet policies that were wildly differing and AT&T was now seeking clarity and predictability.
“Because the internet is so critical to everyone, it’s understandably confusing and a bit concerning when you hear the rules have recently changed, yet again. Legislation would … provide consistent rules of the road,” said Stephenson.
According to Stephenson the U.S. Congress should craft legislation guaranteeing privacy protection for consumers, an open internet and net neutrality with the laws applying equally to all players in the telecoms sector.
Broadband firms in the United States including Spectrum, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and AT&T have largely opposed past attempts by the government to implement regulation on net neutrality. Three years ago for instance, AT&T filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission seeking to block a net neutrality order which gave the federal government an oversight role on the broadband sector.
Following the undoing the net neutrality order of 2015 by the Federal Communications Commission a couple of states are planning to introduce net neutrality laws. For a firm operating across states, varying regulations would be a hindrance to business and would prefer federal regulation.
The campaign by AT&T to have Congress craft net neutrality laws comes in the wake of the telecommunications giant announcing the suspension of financial sponsorship offered to USA Gymnastics over how the organization handled the sex abuse case of Larry Nasser. Several other corporate sponsors of the sports organization have also dropped their support.
While announcing the move AT&T indicated that it was ready to reinstate sponsorship when the concerns it had raised were addressed by USA Gymnastics. The scandal at the sports organization has so far seen three members of the board resign.
On Tuesday shares of AT&T Inc fell by 1.82% to close the day at $37.19 per share.