The Shareholders Speak Resoundingly, Again (AT&T) and Again (Verizon) and Again (Sprint): Net Neutrality Regulations Harm Investment

by Mike Wendy on May 22, 2012

Let’s put this bogus idea to bed – that Net Neutrality regulations actually help people invest in America’s broadband networks.

They do not.

As you may know, earlier this year, activist shareholders – backed by anti-property groups Free Press and Public Knowledge, among others – were successful in getting the SEC to change course and decide that Net Neutrality was an important public policy matter (one which the activists created out of thin air), which deserved being put to a vote by shareholders.  Consequently, they were able to get pro Net Neutrality language inserted into the shareholder voting process for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint during their annual meetings held these past couple of weeks.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the shareholder meetings.  In consecutive shareholder votes held this Spring, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint investors all resoundingly rejected the idea that Net Neutrality makes good business sense.  Only 6% of AT&T shareholders; 8% of Verizon shareholders; and just 3% of Sprint’s gave their approval.

Wow.

A decade-long battle to deride, derogate and pry the private property of network owners out of their hands – aided in no small measure by an anti-incumbent media, and a hijacked FCC (and SEC, too) – has met the investors.  And they said NO.

The people and institutions that take the risk and help build the networks have spoken.  Confiscating their property – as Net Neutrality does – for “fairness,” or whatever the moving goalpost is this week, is not a business model worthy of investment.

It’s time to finally say “night night” to this nightmare of an idea.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

txpatriot May 22, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Although I agree with you that NN shareholder proposals aren’t needed, I would point out that the vast majority of shareholder proposals, if opposed by company management, get voted down by large majorities (consider the results of the slate of minority board members or other shareholder proposals). So while this result should not be considered a surprise, neither is it necessarily a result of a considered vote against NN per se.

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