Congress needs to establish an 'Internet Bill of Rights'

You've heard a lot about net neutrality in the news lately.

I want to share with you AT&T's perspective on the issue.

You should know that AT&T is committed to an open internet. We don't block websites. We don't censor online content. And we don't throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content. Period.

We favor federal legislation to ensure that there is one set of rules that applies to all internet companies, and includes internet and privacy protections for consumers.

A patchwork of different state rules would confuse consumers, harm competition, and impede innovation and investment.

Congress needs to act to establish an "Internet Bill of Rights" that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.

For more information, I wanted you to see the open letter that our Chairman shared recently in major national newspapers.


John Sondag
President — AT&T Missouri

Consumers Need an Internet Bill of Rights


Government rules for the internet have been debated for nearly as long as the internet has existed, even before a professor coined the term “net neutrality” 15 years ago.

The internet has changed our lives and grown beyond what anyone could have imagined. And it’s done so, for the most part, with very few—but often changing—rules. Regulators under four different presidents have taken four different approaches. Courts have overturned regulatory decisions. Regulators have reversed their predecessors. And 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.

It is time for Congress to end the debate once and for all, by writing new laws that govern the internet and protect consumers.

Until they do, I want to make clear what you can expect from AT&T.

AT&T is committed to an open internet. We don’t block websites. We don’t censor online content. And we don’t throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content. Period.

We have publicly committed to these principles for over 10 years. And we will continue to abide by them in providing our customers the open internet experience they have come to expect.

But the commitment of one company is not enough. Congressional action is needed to establish an “Internet Bill of Rights” that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users.

Legislation would not only ensure consumers’ rights are protected, but it would provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies across all websites, content, devices and applications. In the very near future, technological advances like self-driving cars, remote surgery and augmented reality will demand even greater performance from the internet. Without predictable rules for how the internet works, it will be difficult to meet the demands of these new technology advances.

That’s why we intend to work with Congress, other internet companies and consumer groups in the coming months to push for an “Internet Bill of Rights” that permanently protects the open internet for all users and encourages continued investment for the next generation of internet innovation.

Randall Stephenson
AT&T Chairman and CEO

John Sondag, President, AT&T Missouri, is responsible for all regulatory, legislative, governmental and external affairs activities in Missouri. He was appointed to his current position in July 2010. Since joining the company in 1978, Sondag has held numerous management positions both in St. Louis and in San Antonio, Texas, including several positions in the company’s marketing department until Divestiture in 1983, when he joined a small group of managers to start the company’s new Procurement Division. In 1990, he moved to the corporate staff to manage the corporation’s investor relations division, where he was responsible for interacting and communicating with Wall Street.  In 1997, Sondag returned to St. Louis after a five-year stay in San Antonio, to become Director of Municipal Affairs. Most recently he served as Vice President of External Affairs, responsible for all legislative activities for AT&T Missouri which included managing all lobbying efforts with the Missouri Legislature and representing AT&T with St. Louis County and St. Louis City Governments.  Sondag serves on the executive boards of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Paraquad. He is a member of St. Louis Civic Progress and Kansas City Civic Council, and also serves on the board of St. Louis RCGA, United Way of Greater St. Louis, Greater St. Louis Area Boy Scout Council, Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis Municipal Opera, St. Louis Police Foundation, Backstoppers, St. Louis Sports Commission, Hawthorn Foundation, Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, Gene Slay's Boy's Club of St. Louis, and the Gateway Mall Advisory Board. A native of St. Louis, Sondag holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master’s of Business Administration from Loyola University in New Orleans. He and his wife, Vicky, have two college-age children and reside in St. Louis County.

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