General Motors is skeptical about the open Internet

General Motors has written to the FCC about open Internet rules, expressing concern that the commission may eliminate distinctions between mobile and fixed broadband Internet access. 

Mobile broadband network operators will continue to need the regulatory flexibility to support new and emerging services, writes Henry M. Lightsey III, executive director, Global Connected Consumer, GM. “The connectivity that we are incorporating into our vehicles is a prime example.”

He notes that GM has offered OnStar connectivity since 1996 but adds that emerging 4G LTE is opening the door to rapid innovation with regard to streaming media and real-time access to traffic and weather data, and he mentions vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. The variety of mobile data being accessed, he writes, “…will require a range of mobile network management techniques to successfully enable the services provided to our customers.”

He notes that exceptions to open Internet rules for “reasonable network management” have been said to provide sufficient flexibility. But he continues, “From our point of view, mobile broadband being delivered by a car moving at 75 mph down a highway—or for that matter, stuck in a massive spontaneous traffic jam—is a fundamentally different phenomenon from a wired broadband connection to a consumers’ home, and merits continued consideration under distinct rules that take this into account.”

As Brendan Sasso in National Journal points out, “The FCC first enacted net-neutrality rules in 2010 that focused on home Internet service and largely exempted cellular connections. A federal court struck down those rules earlier this year, and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is now trying to craft new regulations that can survive future court challenges.”

You can read the GM letter here.

See related article, “GM exec promotes connected vehicles.”

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