Net neutrality provision gets 5.9 percent of AT&T shareholder votes

Supporters of the proposal call the vote a success because it will come back up next year

About 5.9 percent of AT&T shareholders have voted for a proposal calling on the company to commit to net neutrality principles on its wireless networks, but supporters of the measure called the vote a success.

The vote, at AT&T's annual meeting in Salt Lake City Friday, met the 3 percent threshold for the proposal to be automatically placed on next year's ballot, according to Trillium Asset Management, the investment advisor that presented the proposal to AT&T shareholders. Investors holding AT&T stock worth about US$11.4 billion voted in favor of the resolution, Trillium said.

An AT&T spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the vote.

Supporters of the measure will continue to press the issue with shareholders and AT&T management, said Jonas Kron, vice president at Trillium. The goal of supporters this year was to meet the 3 percent threshold set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for resubmitting a proposal, he said in an email.

"This means that the issue is going to remain on the company's agenda with its shareholders for at least another year," he said.

Supporters see the issue as a long-term one, especially because the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's 2010 net neutrality rules face court challenges, Kron added. Shareholder efforts to require corporate disclosure of political spending started in 2004, with an average vote of about 9 percent in favor, he said. Since then, about 100 corporations have adopted political disclosure rules.

One large proxy advisory firm "gave a very qualified recommendation to vote against the proposal and it's not at all clear that as net neutrality continues to develop and grow" that the firm will continue to side with AT&T against the measure, Kron said.

Similar proposals on wireless network neutrality are scheduled for votes at the upcoming annual meetings of Verizon Communications on May 3 and Sprint Nextel on May 15.

The net neutrality provisions ask the carriers to pledge to avoid selectively degrading connections to some Internet content in favor of content they are affiliated with.

The proposals ask each company to publicly commit to "operate a neutral network with neutral routing along the company's wireless infrastructure such that the company does not privilege, degrade or prioritize any packet transmitted over its wireless infrastructure based on its source, ownership or destination."

The proposals at AT&T and Verizon were filed by Trillium, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, and several individual investors including Michael "Mike D" Diamond of music group the Beastie Boys. The proposal at Sprint was filed by the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?