Dallas Business Journal:
A federal appeals court ruling nixing the Federal Communication Commission’s open Internet rules will mean more dealmaking options for broadband providers such as Dallas-based AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), as well as more options for consumers, a top technology lawyer tells me.
Critics of the decision on Net neutrality say striking down the requirement that Internet providers treat all traffic equally gives providers too much power to create an unfair playing field.Matt Anderson, intellectual property and technology partner, of Munck Wilson Mandala law firm in Dallas, doesn’t see it that way.
“The practical result right now is that broadband service providers have an opportunity to provide better service and expanded service and things that make them look good and their customers happy,” Anderson told me in an interview. “I think that’s likely to start happening. They also legally could start discriminating or blocking content, but I think practically speaking, that would be a poor business decision for them.”
Because although the court struck down the requirement that Internet service providers treat all Web traffic equally, the court upheld a requirement that providers tell customers if they block access, Anderson said.
“Technically, right now AT&T could say ‘Skype voice services competes with my phone delivery services, and I’m going to block all Skype traffic,” Anderson said. “But under the transparency part of the order, AT&T would have to tell all their customers ‘I’m blocking all Skype.’ That would almost certainly mean a lot of bad press for them and a lot of lost customers.”