The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that AT&T and other wireless telecom companies will have to let shareholders vote on net neutrality, thanks in part to a proposal from a group that includes Mike D of the Beastie Boys.
Net neutrality, the notion that online traffic must be treated equally by ISPs, is now a “significant policy” issue, the SEC said in a letter posted on its website. The agency is recommending that AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon include a resolution in their annual shareholder votes declaring that they won’t treat data differently based on its “source, ownership or destination.”
The move comes in response to a proposal sent to the SEC by Trillium Asset Management, which represents Mike D and two other AT&T shareholders. Previously the SEC found net neutrality wasn’t a large enough issue to include in shareholder votes. But thanks to the policy push by the likes of Trillium, as well as the FCC’s own support of net neutrality for landline ISPs, it seems the tide is finally beginning to shift in favor of those who want fair wireless-web access.
Of course, the SEC’s recommendation doesn’t guarantee that carrier shareholders will vote in favor of net neutrality. But at least shareholders can now get their say, instead of just accepting the carrier’s position.
VentureBeat is holding its second annual Mobile Summit this April 2-3 in Sausalito, Calif. The invitation-only event will debate the five key business and technology challenges facing the mobile industry today, and participants — 180 mobile executives, investors, and policymakers — will develop concrete, actionable solutions that will shape the future of the mobile industry. You can find out more at our Mobile Summit site.