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Sprint CTO Blesses a Light Touch of Title II

In a letter to the FCC, Stephen Bye says that a 'light touch application' of Title II would not harm mobile broadband investment.

Sarah Thomas

January 16, 2015

2 Min Read
Sprint CTO Blesses a Light Touch of Title II

Sprint has officially come to terms with Title II -- the FCC regulation that may be applied to reclassify broadband as a utility -- as long it is applied with a light touch.

The carrier's CTO Stephen Bye said in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) "does not believe that a light touch application of Title II, including appropriate forbearance, would harm the continued investment in, and deployment of, mobile broadband services." (See Obama Rocks Broadband World Again and Obama Backs Net Neutrality, Stuns Industry.)

A 1993 amendment to the Telecommunications Act, including Title II, is what allowed Sprint to enter the wireless market in the first place, and Bye says the competition it brought resulted in network investments, innovation and falling prices. He called that a light touch, and said that, "so long as the FCC continues to allow wireless carriers to manage our networks and differentiate our products, Sprint will continue to invest in data networks regardless of whether they are regulated by Title II, Section 706, or some other light touch regulatory regime."

For more on topics like mobile broadband, check out our dedicated mobile content channel here on Light Reading.

So, while its support for Title II is a surprising reversal for the company -- which, like most broadband providers, resisted regulation -- it's also not a ringing endorsement. Bye ends by asking the FCC to not be distracted by debates over Title II, but to focus on competition by taking into account the "unique network management challenges faced by mobile carriers" and the flexibility they need to design products and services.

Verizon Wireless has taken a more aggressive stance, last year threatening to sue the FCC if it enacted Title II rules, and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has said in the past that treating broadband as a utility might force it to stop expanding its fiber network, a threat the carrier later recanted. T-Mobile US Inc. has yet to be as vocal as its competitors. (See Net Neutrality: Latest Proposal Will Make Everybody Unhappy and AT&T GigaPower Awaits Regulatory Resolution and AT&T to FCC: We Haven't Killed Broadband Rollout.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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