Net neutrality provision gets 5.9% of AT&T shareholder votes
Supporters of the proposal call the vote a success because it will come back up next year
IDG News Service - About 5.9% of AT&T shareholders 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 on Friday, met the 3% threshold for the proposal to be automatically placed on next year's ballot, according to Trillium Asset Management, the investment adviser that presented the proposal to AT&T shareholders. Investors holding AT&T stock worth about $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% 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% 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, Kan., 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 email@example.com.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Aberdeen Group: Marketing Analytics for Manufacturing: Forging Customer Insights There are no recalls for poor marketing. Manufacturers need to get their customer intelligence and messaging right the first time. Learn how.
- The Brave New World of Customer-Centric Manufacturing The Unique Opportunity for Manufacturers to Better Understand their Consumers
- See the Possibilities Utilizing Data Visualization Do you simply want to collect data, or do you want to derive business insights from it? What if you could quickly and...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All IT Industry White Papers | Webcasts