updated 06:10 pm EDT, Fri April 27, 2012
AT&T reelects board, shoots down neutrality vote
In their annual meeting today, AT&T's stockholders shot down a proposal that would have seen the telecom giant commit to the principles of net neutrality. The proposal, made possible by an SEC regulation requiring that carriers allow shareholders to vote on the issue, was defeated 94 percent to six percent.
In addition to the net neutrality proposal, which called for the company to "commit to operating its wireless network without the ability to privilege, degrade or prioritize any traffic," the shareholders voted down a proposal that would have required the company to produce a semi-annual report on political contributions and another proposal calling for the chairman of the board to be an independent director.
The meeting also saw the reappointment of the company's existing board of directors, with all 11 nominees receiving at least 96.3 percent of the shares voted. Shareholders also voted on executive pay and selected Ernst & Young LLP as the company's independent auditor.
Net neutrality has been a hotly argued topic over the last few years, with heavy-traffic players like Google and Netflix arguing that service providers should not be able to discriminate based upon a site's traffic. Meanwhile, the service providers argue that some degree of traffic shaping, access capping, or bandwidth throttling is necessary in the face of exponential data traffic growth.