FCC votes along party lines to require AT&T, Verizon to make data roaming deals

“The Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules today at its monthly public meeting that will require wireless service providers, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, to negotiate wireless data roaming deals with competitors,” Marguerite Reardon reports for CNET.

“As expected, the FCC voted along party lines, with the three Democrats including Chairman Julius Genachowski voting in favor of the measure,” Reardon reports. “Meanwhile, Republicans Robert McDowell and Meredith Atwell-Baker voted against the new rules, stating they don’t believe the FCC has the authority or a reason to adopt such rules.”

Reardon reports, “The new rules will require wireless operators that own their infrastructure and spectrum to ‘offer data roaming arrangements to other such providers on commercially reasonable terms and conditions, subject to certain limitations.’

Commissioner Michael Copps, who voted in favor of the new rules, said that he is ‘pleased that data roaming’s time has arrived.’ He said that the rules advance ‘two key goals of his and the commission’s in protecting wireless consumers and promoting competition,'” Reardon reports. “The Republican commissioners agreed that data roaming among wireless operators is a good thing for the industry, but they disagreed that the FCC needs rules that will force wireless operators to negotiate with competitors and offer ‘reasonable rates.'”

Reardon reports, “McDowell said that the commission does not have the authority to adopt such rules, since he believes the rules would impose Title II “common carrier” regulation onto a service that the FCC has specifically deemed in the past to not be considered something regulated under Title II. ‘I also agree with my colleagues that many benefits flow from the widespread availability of data roaming,’ he said. ‘Nonetheless, the commission simply does not have the legal authority to adopt the regulatory regime mandated by this order.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


      1. You should put a call in to Scott Walker (the politician, not the guy who sang “No Regrets). He knows all about having his legislation held up.

        But I should warn you he’s probably a little wary of talking to people on the phone.

    1. It is far, far better for consumer demand and true competition to determine market prices than the government’s “reasonable” standards. Reasonable to whom? Consumers for as cheap as possible? AT&T/Verizon for their costs to provide the service? Regional competitors to AT&T/Verizon, because they need to make more profits to grow into a national provider or pay their shareholders more in dividends?

      We don’t know the details of this yet, and that’s where the devil lies in wait.

  1. It is to bad that this government continues to step blindly outside the law and the Constitution regularly. I am sure it could have been done differently if they thought about it at all.

    Resources owned by someone should not be offered by the government to people that don’t own them. Think eminent domain, over taxing one group to give to another, EPA wet lands rules on your property, … Should Apple’s research labs be offered to Dell, CR, Microsoft, … They can’t afford such a good lab. It isn’t fair! How about the pool in your yard or the neighbour’s? Should anyone be able to use it? How about your new car?

    1. “Resources” like radio spectra? Didn’t see the memo that the telecoms took ownership of their leased airwaves. No doubt these free-market libertarians will spend to enforce sole use of the their slice of the spectra instead of relying on the big bad commerce-hating federal government. What’s that you say? No?

      1. Great. I wanted to get my car serviced Friday, so I will stop by and use yours for the day. Will you want it back for Saturday?

        You confuse setting standard and commerce rules with giving access to someone else’s property without their consent.

        Example 1: Cars can drive on both sides of the road but to avoid collisions, the government set a standard of driving on the right side of the road in the USA.

        Example 2: The government should not tell you I am allowed to park my car in your driveway on Mondays and it you don’t have enough room for all your cars, you will have to find some other solution for them.

        1. Good example! Like the airwaves, the streets are a public resourse built and maintained by multiple layers of commerce-hating government subsidizing your gas guzzling car, whose gas taxes pay for less than half of the roadway budgets. Since my house lacks a driveway, I used to park my car on public land next to the curb, rent free. Yay socialism!
          I won’t lend you my car, I sold it and I’m a fiftyish bike commuter now, healthier and happier. You might think about that yourself.
          Again, governments provide stable environments where commerce can florish absent lawless elements. You want a libertarian utopia, visit the Horn of Africa, it’s just what the Teapublicans are angling for.

          1. due to big government take overs, most of us do not have the option to commute to a local job. oh, and your electric cars, the one run on electricity made by coal can make the 300 mile trip. Yay socialism! It’s great but I do miss have life, liberty and being allowed by government to pursue happiness. At least it will get shut down for a while and save lots of money. Hope liberals don’t starve without the government feeding them.

  2. @Ricmac….so it’s good to force companies to do things because you think you will get something out of it? Don’t be so quick to give the govt., especially the FCC, power it doesn’t have.

    And stop it with the “tea baggers” you immature child.

  3. Good for FCC. A necessary and commonsense step. Hopefully they will be held to have the authority to do this; if they don’t, they absolutely should.

    This reg reduces fragmentation and creates uniformity of access– something the market would not do in its own yet which has huge public network benefits. Like building and owning highways, assuring such benefits where the private market won’t is exactly the proper role for government. And if it hurts the “freedom” of a few big and intransigent players in order to create a bigger pie for everyone, well I for one am not gonna cry for Verizon and ATT.

    1. Yes, by all means, punish success. That’s the perfect way to get the economy moving again.

      (Walks away mutterring, “Stupid fscking libs are a cancer on the U.S.”)

    2. @Fredo I agree throw out all rules of law you don’t like. Hopefully they will add data to the free welfare phones soon. We deserve everything free.

  4. Thanks for calling me hateful names Bob. I said tea baggers because I’m under the impression that they gave themselves the name and wear it proudly. Scratching my head wondering how it is that calling a movement what they named themselves is being an “immature child.”
    But, again, thanks for name calling – it does show your maturity!

      1. The first big day for this movement was Tax Day, April 15. And organizers had a gimmick. They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the exhortations was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” A protester was spotted with a sign saying, “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.”

        Just so we’re all clear how it started.

  5. Well, out here in Dank Wattle, WA, roaming of any sort is good. Cell phone voice coverage is very spotty and, if you’re with Verizon, there are a lot of regional companies that have a voice roaming deal with Verizon so that we the customers can actually use our phones to make phone calls. Everybody wins. Now, if they also include data roaming, which they currently do not, life would be grand.

    If you’re with Sprint or one of the regional carriers, you’re out of luck. They don’t share with each other. No voice roaming, no data roaming, no nothing when you leave the home area.

    Sadly, AT&T is the only GSM carrier around here, so there’s no roaming of any sort. That’s funny because, when AT&T was converting their analog cell service to digital under the Cingular banner, one of the big benefits was no roaming charges! Well, duh… there’s nowhere to roam to!

  6. Obviously many of you have never been outside the US… where the wireless industry is government regulated, with uniform standards, and flawless service. Please leave your ideologic attachments rest, get an education… and travel, see the world. Learn what humanity can do with well functioning governance.

  7. You know what I like about Liberals?

    Absolutely nothing!

    Buying more ammo so when the socialistic, secular progressives and Democrats try to take over the USA I will be able to defend myself and my family.

  8. CDMA vs. GSM.

    Any roaming agreement between AT&T and Verizon is pointless at the moment.

    Maybe if they choose a convergent technology for 4G (Is that the case with LTE?).

    Good job, FCC. Thanks for lookin’ out.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tags: , ,